Four (feat.) for Friday

I’m sort of a sucker for the “feat.” in a song title that means one musical artist has agreed to work with another. Here are a few that I’ve come across recently. I realize that for some the definition of “artist” is being stretched beyond credibility here. So be it.

Greg Laswell – Come Back Down (feat. Sara Bareilles) // Nice collaboration here.

Skrillex – Summit (feat. Ellie Goulding) // It is what it is.

The Beatards – Get Lite (feat. CSWS) // I’m sort of slow, but is there a chance that these young men are talking about using mood enhancing substances?

Ane Brun – Worship (feat. Jose Gonzalez) // I enjoy most all of the music that Mr. Gonzalez makes. This song is no exception. Video is sort of interesting.

Cover-to-Cover – Week 12

Greg Laswell – Off I Go

If you are tearing through the Bible in a year, it is possible that the story of Ruth (and Naomi…  and Boaz) might have barely registered on your radar.  All four chapters are easily read in one sitting.  And while God doesn’t “appear” to factor much into the story, I stand by the assertion that God is in fact the main character of the Bible…  all of it.

So this simple story of tragedy, loyalty, hope, and redemption mirrors God’s much larger story that serves as the backdrop for Ruth.  And given that these same themes are found in this larger story, the story of Ruth can be seen in a sense as a microcosm of the human situation.

The key to understanding that this story as the unfolding of of God’s grand purposes in the world, and not just a story of things working out for some specific individuals, is the genealogy at the end.

18 This, then, is the family line of Perez:
Perez was the father of Hezron,

19 Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,

20 Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,

21 Salmon the father of Boaz,
Boaz the father of Obed,

22 Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of David.

Ruth 4:18-22

David, the king of Israel, is the grandson of Boaz and Ruth.  And if we follow the line of descendants long enough…  well, you likely know where all this is going.

And in the sort of irony that is typical for God, the unfolding of His story hinges on a person who is the least likely (at least, by Jewish accounts) to be at the center of his cosmic plans – a woman.  And not only a woman, but a foreign woman.  Right in the middle of a story that will take us straight through David, Solomon, on up through Jesus and beyond, we have Ruth.  God takes her very “simple” story and redeems it for the sake of all humanity.

Starting to sound at all familiar?

Cover-to-Cover – Week 10

Greg Laswell – Around the Bend

So a couple nights ago, I’m reading through some of the latter chapters of Joshua in which the land is being divided up among the Israelites.  As I’m wrapping up, I state the obvious to Alison, “Man, this stuff is boring.”  To which she mutters some words of general agreement.  Of course, my attitude towards this section of the Scriptures reveals more about me than it does about the text.  And as best as I can tell, there are at least three things about my approach to these passages that keeps me from being able to appreciate them as the words of God.

1)  Our need to see “me” in every passage.  I talked about this some in church a little bit ago, but we tend to approach the Bible like a self-absorbed conversation partner.  As long as the conversation is about me, my accomplishments, my hopes, my concerns, everything is good.  As soon as we start talking about something else, our mind wanders.  Things seem dull.  We are bored.   So all this talk about the Israelites sinking roots in the Promised Land begins to sound like the adults’ voices in a Peanuts cartoon largely because we fail to see what it has to do with me. But can you imagine a group of people who had been wandering in the wilderness for 40 YEARS finally having a place to call home?  Or a race that had had been slaves in another nation for centuries, finally liberated, and finally in a (promised) land in which they can sink roots?

2)  Our culture of mobility.  No question that modern advancements in transportation have increasingly made moving places something that can happen with little effort.  However, this ability to move with relative ease from one place to the other has also heightened a sense in which we are dis-placed.  Disconnected.  Severed from a connection to land and place, we simply can’t identify with more agrarian people who didn’t see land exclusively as a commodity, but as a gift.

3)  Our tendency to separate spiritual and physical.  This is clearly related to the previous issue, but it runs a bit deeper.  We have a hard time understanding why people would have gotten all worked up over a plot of land.  Why don’t these people know (as we do) that one’s spiritual life isn’t determined by where they are physically?  We worship God in spirit and in truth.  Right?  And yet, the biblical witness is clear.  The separation between physical and spiritual simply doesn’t exist.  There is no getting around the very earthy understanding that God’s people had at that time…  God’s presence and his blessing are organically linked to the land.  In fact, judging from the continued turf wars happening in the Middle East, not much has changed for some.

Maybe that helps.  Maybe it muddies the water even more.  Happy reading.