The Sportsman Channel touts its newest series, Amazing America with Sarah Palin, in a three-minute video making the rounds on social media. The video, a recording by “the most patriotic band in America,” Madison Rising, contains rousing lyrics, while a variety of activities flash by in rapid succession: men fighting fires, men shooting guns, women shooting guns, men running with bulls, men riding down zip lines, cars racing, and Sarah Palin on a dogsled pulled by pink-booted sled dogs.
So, I write church music. (I've probably mentioned this before.) I've made lead sheets and full-band recordings for just one set of songs, my settings of the three Luke canticles. (One of them—Simeon's—is also on this Cardiphonia compliation.) At this point, mostly what I've done is create home demo recordings, playing and singing all the parts myself, some of them better than others. Here's one I just posted, not a biblical canticle but a song with original lyrics.
Via CCblogger Scott Gunn, here's a fun new video from Lutheran Satire. I appreciate the main points here: that the faith formation of young people begins in the home (see this Century interview with another Lutheran) and that the main thing that draws anyone to the church is not pop-culture sensibilities but the proclamation of good news (an even Lutheraner notion). But I'm not sure what this has to do with the U2charist and the other single-secular-artist-themed worship services it's spawned.
You probably won’t hear Greg Laswell's songs in church. You’re more likely to catch them on the radio or in the background of a particularly intense moment of shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, or The Carrie Diaries. Yet his songs animate the highs and lows of my spiritual journeys. I’ve also started using them in my U.S. religious history courses.
In the digital age, music albums are often seen as quaint, obsolete. Yet a well-crafted collection of songs often carries with it a narrative arc, even when the compositions lack words.
Hey, the Feast of the Presentation falls on a Sunday this year! That's as good a reason as any to post this full-band recording of my setting of Simeon's song.
Pete Seeger’s friend Woody Guthrie wrote “This machine kills fascists” on his guitar. Seeger’s banjo offered a telling variation: “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”
A special Christmas review of noteworthy books, music and TV.
I entered parish ministry with a fair amount of idealism, particularly liturgical idealism. Inconveniently, the liturgical proclivities I picked up in seminary were not especially popular with my first congregation. This became clear as a sleigh bell during our first Advent season together.