Dan and my psalms are now online, thanks to the awesomely talented Randy Winchester, Minister of Sound at the church where I intern…. Check it out and tell me what you think.
Books books books….. Drew’s “meme”
Books are scarce in the world. They are illegal in some provinces. They are not easily replaced if not impossible to replace if lost in many if not most circumstances. If you can replace a book or buy one it is usually through the black market at astronomical costs that you cannot afford. Yet you have been able to maintain one of the best collections in the world. If your entire library was about to burn up (think of the firefighters in Fahrenheit 451 invading your home) and you could only have one* book to take with you other than the bible, what would that be and why?
Answer the question. Offer one quote that resonates with you. Tag five people whose response is of genuine interest to you and inform him or her that they have been tagged. Cheers!
SO I totally missed Drew’s “NOT A MEME” post and was tagged…. now I am getting around to answering it… which is what you do when you are avoiding your finals I suppose.
So this is a hard question, of course,… to ask which book would be the most important to you and why. I have been feeling a bit reformed lately, and was struggling with whether I would choose the Book of Common Worship (BCW) or the Hymnal, our modern day Psalter, because I feel like they are part of the daily practices of my life, the hymnal especially. So, because I have been feeling musical, I shall choose to pick the Presbyterian hymnal… and my quote shall be from the Holy Spirit section of said book:
“Spirit of the Living God, Fall afresh on me. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.”
Hopefully, of course, I will have saved my guitar as well in the event of a fire.
As for who I tag… if you read this and feel compelled to answer, then please do. It will be fun, I promise!
a bit of air to breathe in, and a song to sing
A toast to Fridays! Today I slogged (successfully, I might add) through my final paper for my class on Emergent Insights for Youth Ministry at Andover Newton. The paper wasn’t as tight as I might have liked, but given the reality that it was the first paper due in a string of three in a week, it was good enough. This finals period truly has been stressful for me, and I have watched as my workout schedule and my music have fallen by the wayside as I struggle to motivate myself to get my finals done. So even though I loved that class, the paper was difficult to get excited about. The cost of a busy life, I guess.
One thing that has not been stressful, however, has been the newly improved and awesomely fabulous paper topic that Dan F. and I proposed to our Reformed Thought professor last week. Both of us had cool paper topics but weren’t particularly impassioned by them… and then we started joking about revising the psalter at the HDS Charity Ball on May 4th. The rest is history. Both of us are big fans of writing and messing around with music. He plays a lot of percussion and blues, and I am a huge fan of reforming worship music. Anyways, we started talking and brainstorming, and suddenly we had an amazing project in front of us: What would it look like to experiment with a reformed psalter? We both recognized that the psalter defined early reformed churches but has basically fallen completely out of use today. Many pastors and lay people even think we should get rid of it. But the idea is too awesome to just throw away. So we starting playing around and came up with reformed liturgical music with psalms 51, 69, 117, and 134. The best part is, we used contemporary music idioms to do it. Psalm 51 is an awesome bluesy number (think “O Death” from the soundtrack for “O Brother Where Art Thou”) that Dan and I have fallen in love with and basically allowed us to sing the psalm without any alterations…. plus it is sort of a modern day version of psalm chanting in this format, only in a music style that speaks to people more directly…. plus it is a great confessional psalm. Psalm 69 came out as a fairly revised version, in which we developed the psalm into lyrical stanzas. Since it is a psalm of lament, we chose to set it to a sort of high sound driven, dark emo rock piano ballad style (think a mixture of Ben Folds on his own and Evanescence). It also sounds really awesome, plus the lyrical structure is not all that different from hymn structures, which I think says alot for the potential of old hymns to be re-envisioned. 117 and 134 we both envisioned as sort of call to worship type deals. One of them is quite folksy sounding, and the other is more bluesy… both could function either as a call and response or as sung by all or a worship leader.
Anyways my point is that this has been super awesome and fun to do. We are gonna practice some more and then record on Sunday, so hopefully I will have some tracks up soon for you to hear. Until then, rock on!
I had an epiphany today…. I was goofin’ off on my guitar playing Colbie Caillat and loving her lyrics… and suddenly I realized something. I think, in all sincerity, that if Calvin were alive today he would write mellow surfer guitar music like Colbie Caillat– or at least he would like it alot.
And this is how I got here– I was thinking about Calvin, and how in Book 1 of the Institutes he goes into detail about how beautiful this world is, and how God’s imprint is everywhere, from the mountains to our very own toenails, and how the problem is that we are so dull that we don’t even see it. And how we mistake things of our own invention (what Barth calls images of ourselves) for God, and end up not only missing God but worshipping idols in God’s place and often in God’s name.
And then I was playing Colbie’s “Realize”, which if you have heard the song, the voice of the song is someone who believes that if the audience could only realize what they realized then everything would be perfect, and I found myself thinking not of a romantic love interest (sorry alex!) but rather of Calvin and his writings on knowledge of God and self. And then I started tinkering with the lyrics, and found that it took little to no effort to make a song about a love interest into a song that pretty closely mirrors the spirit (if not the letter) of Calvin’s theology on the beauty of God which surrounds us.
SO anyways…thats my thought for the day. I am debating whether to work this into a sermon… but we shall see. it might be too much for my very New England Presbyterian church… but then again, perhaps I should give them more credit.