A (Royal) Four for Friday

The title may be a wee bit misleading. None of the music hear has anything to do with the marriage that I hear has garnered some media attention. I have even heard that they showed it on T.V.!!! I guess that means it was a big deal.

Instead, the music is just as it always is… great. But in honor of the royal nuptials, every song description will have a regal term slipped in. Here we go!

The Salvadors – Eliza Jane // I don’t know who Eliza Jane is, but there was once a queen of England named Jane Grey that only sat on the throne for nine days. Ok, so you see how this is going to work.

The Head and The Heart – In The Summertime // I’ll be continuing to pummel you with THATH (that’s right, they get an acronym) until you realize that they rule.

David Bazan – Wolves At The Door // I hear that if you live in a palace, you don’t really have to worry too much about wolves. If they start bothering you, your soldiers shoot them.

The Civil Wars – Disarm (Smashing Pumpkins Cover) // I wonder if the Royal Family refers to the American Revolution as a civil war.

See you next week.

Four for Friday… again.

Ok, not quite “all-time” low, but pretty close. My standard for blogging failure is when I go from one week to the next without anything to post other than a few lame songs at the end of the week. And so, here we are. Four more songs.

TV on the Radio – Will Do // I think something didn’t work as it should have last week, so you may have missed out on the goods here.

The National – Exile Vilify // This song is old news. Like maybe three days or so. I believe that it was written for a video game. Strange. Anyway, whoever was able to get The National to record a song for a video game should probably get a raise.

The Head and The Heart – Sounds Like Hallelujah // Did I mention that I’m liking this band right now?

Freelance Whales – Girl U Want (Devo Cover) // Speaking of bands that I like, who knew that Devo could sound so good? I’m pretty sure Rob Bell listens to Freelance Whales… or Devo. I think Charlie Sheen does too. It really doesn’t matter. You know why? Because “LOVE WINS!” I’m ending most of my conversations these days with those two words. Try arguing with that. You can’t. 

Well, maybe next week I’ll be able to put some stuff together besides the very best in music.

Four for Friday (lights out edition)

Alright people, this is going to have to be short and sweet. Mother nature wants to keep me from getting the music out to you. But thanks to a little iPhone wizardry, Four for Friday is yours.

Death Cab for Cutie – You Are a Tourist // Brand new Death Cab. Enjoy.

The Head and The  Heart – Lost in My Mind // Can’t get enough of this band. Plus, I really like the name… both the band and the song.

TV on the Radio – Will Do // Solid.

Beastie Boys – Make Some Noise // Never quite sure what to make of these guys. They are the Rob Bell of hip hop. I’m not sure what that means, I was just looking for a way to get his name somewhere in the post.

Rob Bell’s Love is #winning

A few days ago, I was having lunch with a couple friends, and eventually the conversation turned to discussing the book.

No, not the Bible, but Rob Bell’s Love Wins. One of them asked if I could remember a book that caused this much controversy in American churches in recent history. And I couldn’t. There are books that I wished had caused this kind of stir, but for a host of reasons they didn’t.

I finished reading it a couple days ago, so I’ve had some time to reflect on what Bell has written and how to respond. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not going to. Respond that is. At least not here.

The book itself if ok. Not terrible. Not great. He really isn’t saying anything that hasn’t been said before. And yet, I think what is making this book the phenomenon that it has become isn’t simply some genius marketing (although, it hasn’t hurt it either). Nor is because it is the greatest book that has ever been written to address weighty issues like these. No, the difference maker is who has written it. As best I can tell, this is the first time a high-profile evangelical Christian leader has broken ranks (so to speak) with the party line in such a public manner. I’m sure plenty of others have done so in a hundred different ways. But not like this.

I do think the issues, questions, and ideas raised in the book deserve some serious discussion, but I’m not convinced that this blog is the place to do it.

So I won’t be writing anything about it, which is strange for me because that’s lots of what I do around here. Write about books. I may come back around to it eventually, but for now, what I would love more than anything is to have Mr. Bell call me up so that we can talk about it.

But since that is probably not happening anytime soon, maybe just you and I can talk. But not here. Only in person.

Really, I’d love to talk to any and all of you about it. I think people need a safe place where they aren’t going to be judged for trying to figure it out. In fact, I’m planning on getting together with a few friends for the express purpose of discussing the issues Pastor Rob raises. So you’re invited too.

I’m not kidding.

How about next Thursday (4/14)? 5pm-7pm. At The Prost.

That way, we can discuss theology like they used to in the olden days… over a pint (or two), a basket of chicken wings, and some jalapeno poppers. Or whatever the equivalent of wings and poppers would have been for Luther/Calvin/Lewis.

Eat a little. Drink a little. Talk a little. All for the glory of God.

And Brother Rob, should you happen to come across this in time, you are more than welcome to join us. Like I said, I have some questions of my own.

Four (Avetts) for Friday

Last Saturday, Alison and I took Cole and Ben to their very first concert experience. And I have to say that I’m afraid we may have ruined them for life. Seeing The Avett Brothers live sets the bar pretty high for every subsequent concert experience. The thing that puts an Avett Brothers concert in a class all its own is that it just feels like the they show up ready to have a really good time. I’ve seen them twice, and both times the fellas held nothing back. I love listening to their music recorded, but their live performances take it to another level.

Ok, enough fawning. Here are four that were played last Saturday. Enjoy!

The Avett Brothers – Distraction #74

The Avett Brothers – Spanish Pipedream (John Prine Cover)

The Avett Brothers – Swept Away

The Avett Brothers – Blue Ridge Mountain Blues (Cover)

This is my body

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.

Mark 14:22-24

Contained in these few brief words, we have Jesus’ institution of an ordinance that would persevere throughout Christian history. Over the centuries, the way the faithful have understood this holy communion has changed. But very few would question its importance as a central ritual that has sustained countless believers across space and time.

And it is an eating event.

I believe that is significant. That Jesus would choose to establish a church practice for time immemorial that is an eating act necessarily assumes that food and spirituality are connected. I chose Mark’s version of the Lord’s Supper because it is in all likelihood the earliest gospel account. And as a result, this recounting of the sacred meal is the least elaborated on. The wording is urgent and terse. “Take it, this is my body.”

Jesus could have chosen any number of ritualistic acts as a means for remembering his sacrifice. He could have told us to lay on our backs in cruciform fashion for a prescribed period of time. He could have commanded us to weekly say out loud, “I remember Jesus’ death and resurrection,” five times. Really fast. He could have even had us sit cross-legged and simply meditate on the glorious truth of Jesus’ atoning death.

But he didn’t.

Instead, he chose to connect our remembrance of his covenant-establishing death and resurrection to the simple act of eating and drinking. Bread and wine. This very earthy, mundane, natural action – eating – is the sacrament that is present at the gathering of the worshiping community. Some less frequently than others. But even infrequently observed it is (or can be) an incredibly powerful spiritual event. It is a holy act. It is a sacrament.

According to Wikipedia, a sacrament is defined as “a rite in which God is uniquely active,” or “a tangible symbol which represents an intangible reality.” This Holy Meal is something that the Church through Jesus’ command is suppose to observe in order to remind us of specific Christian truths. Namely, that in Christ, God has lavished his grace on us, and that clothed in the faith(fulness) of Christ we are loved and forgiven.

However, without taking away one ounce from the sacredness and uniqueness of the Lord’s Supper, every supper contains sacramental potential. For something to be sacramental (as opposed to Sacrament), it simply needs to be an action that reminds us of some truth about God. And from that perspective, all of life begins to open up with sacramental possibilities. The mundane is transformed into something that orients us towards the divine. Anything. A shower can remind us of being washed clean by God’s mercy. Observing a mountain sunset becomes an opportunity to reflect on the grandeur of God. Conversation with a friend can remind us that God reveals himself. He communicates. He speaks. Sex… well, the list goes on.

But we are talking about food here, so let’s be clear. The Lord’s Supper is sacrament. Supper is sacramental. That is to say that each meal becomes an opportunity to reflect on God’s gracious provision for us. The variety of food we enjoy reminds us that God’s creativity is limitless. Meals geared towards celebration draw attention to the shear joy of the Lord. And as we’ve seen before… meals both reflect and draw us into community.

My friends, I hope you’ll forgive a verse taken only very slightly out of context as I admonish you with the words of Paul…

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

For more sage insight into the significance of the Eucharist, check HERE and HERE.

Phour phor Phriday

Let me introduce you to Jacob Slaton. He’s a photographer, so I’m sure I’m breaking some sort of law by putting a tampered with image of his up here. I’m going to risk it.

He and his family have been coming to our church for a while, and I’ve recently had the pleasure of getting to know him a bit better. I’ll let his online presence speak for himself.

Anyway, it didn’t take long for our conversations to turn towards music, and I think he was appalled when he discovered I wasn’t more familiar with a band that is near and dear to his heart…


He graciously put a introductory compilation into my hands and I have been listening to it on and off for month. And during that time, I’ve grown in my understanding of the Phish phenomenon. Forgive me for making comparisons, but they have a sound that is reminiscent of The Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic, and Dave Matthews. All of whom, by the way, have massive cult followings. And deservedly so.

But I tarry. Let’s get down to the music. It was a little challenging to pick four, but I persevered. And here’s what I came up with…

Phish – Limb by Limb

Phish – Down with Disease

Phish – Heavy Things

Phish – Prince Caspian

Ok, so if there are any other Phish phanatics out there, I’d love to hear what your favorites are.

Many thanks Jacob for helping me see the light.