Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Music of Naughty Little Monkeys

Tom is one of my closest friends. He knows my dark & vile secrets, and I know his. (Hence, the bond of trust between us.) He and his wife are gracious enough to let me sit with them at Living Waters. (Otherwise, being single, I would have to sit by myself and cry many a tear.)

Generally, Tom & I will get into discussions during the worship service. More often then not, we will discuss our warped thoughts about Christianity. For example; a few weeks ago, Pastor Scott was preaching on Jesus raising the widow's son from the dead in Luke 7.

It's a pretty interesting story to visualize. Jesus stops an entire funeral procession right in it's tracks and tells the dead boy's mom not to cry. It probably came off as rather rude to everyone watching this. However, then Jesus just tells the dead kid to get up...and he does.

But what caught Tom & I was the following sentence: "The Dead man sat up and began to talk..." So Tom & I were wondering what he might have said. John never mentions what he said to everyone, just that he spoke. So we thought that maybe the kid sat up and yelled "Surprise!!!!" or perhaps "BOO!"

Or what about in John 11, when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead? Is it possible that the first words out of Lazarus' mouth were a muffled "Get this wrapping off of me! I can barely breath."

I mean, it's possible. Jesus was a funny guy. I'm certain that more than once when all the disciples were asleep in the same place, Jesus got a bowl of warm water and put someone's hand in it...most likely Peter.

These are the thoughts that run in the minds of Tom & I during the service...and at most other times too. It's not blasphemy if it's funny.

So anyway, today to close out the Easter Service, Tom and the rest of the worship band crank out this song full-tilt, with all the funk required. (Tom plays bass, and is known to "Thwack." Just not as well as King David.)

I thought that was a brilliant touch. The church is called upon to be salt & light in this world. Too often, the American church has been completely co-opted by the culture around it. I think it should be the other way around. This includes music. So it seems only right to me to take a secular song and conquer it for Jesus. Martin Luther created the song "A Mighty Fortress" out of a German beer drinking song.

There is a precedent for this in the modern era too. Many years ago, Leon Patillo took this song and tweeked the lyrics just slightly, turning it into a worship song. (I'll bet you can figure out which words he tweeked.) It honestly becomes an ideal worship song that everyone can sing to.

Naturally, this got me to thinking. (Always a danger.) But if they can take Rebecca Black's song "Friday," and turn it into a "Churchy" song, why not?

It strikes me that since we used Rare Earth once in our worship service, we can use them again. Take this song and do a little adding & subtracting and you get a great song to go along with a sermon on Christ's Second Coming.

For the life of me, I can't remember which song it is. But one of our regular worship songs always makes me think of "Kashmir" by Led Zepplin. So I figured that with some work, this next one could be about God's amazing grace and our desperate need for it. I mean, if "Way down inside, you need love" isn't an obvious biblical truth, then I don't know what is.

Tyler, Rich and some of the other guitar players may have some struggles with the solo though.

Now, let us consider Paul's words to the Philippians; "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Only one song befits such exhortations...

I thought about using the original version by Journey, but I prefer their "Wheel in the Sky." It sort of has an Old Testament & "Proverbsy" sort of vibe to it.

As I said, these are the types of thoughts that run through the minds of Tom & myself. I know what you're thinking. "SHAME on us!!! Bad, bad monkeys."

ANYWAY, after the service was over I went up and spoke to Rachel. She leads our various musical incarnations at Living Waters. I asked her if it might be possible to perform one of my favorite work-out songs if I could make the lyrics acceptable. Thus far, the best I have come up with is "Joys, joys, joys," so any suggestions would be appreciated.

I'm very serious about this. We don't need any extra dancers, and we could nix the odd outfits and head gear. But don't you think it would be pretty awesome to sit in a church service and hear this belted out?



P.S. Oddly enough, sometimes secular productions use Christian themed music in their shows and such. I stumbled across a beautiful hymn slightly modernized by, of all things, the Muppet Show. Enjoy it, won't you.

Did I do that?

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

Easter, 2011 & a sunrise

When I make a blog post, I always try to find a suitable picture to begin with. This morning I typed in the word "Easter." Of the three pages of images that I scrolled through, there were 5 pictures of Jesus. The rest of the pictures were of collared eggs, bunnies and chickens. I thought that was rather interesting.

The comedian, Eddie Izzard once tried to make a connection between the chocolate of the eggs with the brown wood of the cross.

In the Czech Republic, it is tradition for guys to run through the towns and whack girls on their backsides with a switch. The girls reciprocate by either throwing a bucket of water on the boy, or spraying them in the face with perfume. Odd, to say the least.

Did the church co-opt the culture around it, or did the culture co-opt the church?

Just some of the thoughts in my head this morning. But the sun is coming up. It's in the bottom of the pine trees behind my house.

Thanks Ben

Just some of the thoughts in my head this morning. But the sun IS coming up after 3 days of rain and gloom. (I can never fully wake up when it's cloudy.)

Just some of the thoughts in my head this morning. But the sun is coming up and is in the middle of the pines now.

One of the thoughts in my head is that this video will be all over the internet today. So I figured I would jump on the bandwagon. But sun is coming up.

I forget so easily how much a lack of sun affects & effects me. I forget all the time. I even forgot this morning...until I saw it peaking through the trees. But I'll probably forget again in no time. But the sun is coming up. It is rising.

The Son has come up. He has risen.



Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wendell Berry

A Prophet is one who speaks the word of God. Sometimes they tell of future events, but most of the time they simply speak of the present. Wendell Berry is a farmer, writer, activist and prophet. (Although he would probably renounce that title.) I was turned on to him by Rick McKinley in one of his sermon podcasts. This is what I listened to again today...and I really need to let it sink in,

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

It's just a thought



P.S. For more on Wendell Berry, click the following links.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

...Spite my Face