books and bands smash-ups
Sunday June 25th 2006, 12:43 pm
Filed under: youth ministry, church, books, music, youth work

this is way fun. a group of people had the weird idea to combine famous book names with band names in a little literary/musical smash-up.

the results are titles like:

The Things They Might Be Giants Carried
The Who Moved My Cheese
The Old Man and The Sea and Cake
Charlie Daniels and the Chocolate Factory
Catch 182
Horton Hears a Hoobastank
Of Mice and Men at Work
Bare Naked Lunch Ladies
The Agony and the XTC

read the whole list on the site, and your mind will get churning to think up some more!

ya know, now that i’m thinking about it, let’s do a little sub-contest here. come up with a smash-up of a christian book, youth ministry book, or — if you really want to win — a youth specialties book. winner gets a ys book of their choosing. i might even choose a couple winners, if i get enough good ones! has to be a band or group name, not a song.

i’ll try a few to get you rolling:

the secret message of jesus and mary chain
velvet elvis costello
what’s so amazing about grace jones?
the problem of house of pain
a new kids on the block kind of christian
blue like the preservation hall jazz band
the power of a praying wolfmother

and a handful of ys books:

purpose driven sonic youth ministry
the best of coldplay it
contemplative youth ministry (yeah, have to think on that one. last word is a band.)
help, imogen heap volunteer youth worker

(ht to dave palmer, or should i say, “ palmer”)

gnarls barkley at MTV movie awards
Thursday June 15th 2006, 4:08 pm
Filed under: music

ok, so i love this song anyhow. but this is just such a stinkin’ cool performance…

the role of music in our lives
Saturday June 03rd 2006, 12:20 pm
Filed under: personal, thinking..., music

we moved liesl to the waldorf school of san diego (a private school) about a month ago, and last night was her first school concert. since waldorf schools teach through the arts quite a bit, music plays a large role in the school. i was struck by the contrast to so many public schools that are cutting music programs (and all arts) due to funding issues, with an assumption (driven by beaurocrats or parents or whomever, i’m not sure) that education is purely about the mind.

the kids at waldorf all start on a stringed instrument in 3rd grade. kids who transfer in later are part of the ‘recorder chorus’. i was expecting aural pain and agony, listening to 3rd - 6th graders playing stringed instruments. but they were actually good. at one point, during a bach piece, played by the 6th grade orchestra, i found myself tearing up at the beauty of the music.

then came the choirs. every kid in the school sings in a choir with their grade. sure, i suppose they don’t all love it. but it seems very normal, since they’re all in it — it’s just part of what they do. they sang classical songs and folk songs and hebrew rounds and a couple songs in german.

listening to all that stuff last night, watching those little 4th grade guys carry their cellos, listening to the 5th graders sing in german, i was once again struck by how formative music is. it’s not just about learning a skill. these kids are having their world view stretched by singing songs from other cultures and languages; they’re working their fine motor skills on stringed instuments and recorders; they’re working as a team to be a part of something bigger than themselves (in the instrumental groups and the choir); and they’re learning something — creating something, really — that connects with their souls, not just their brains.

when god made music, he knew that it was very, very good.

my grup gripe
Tuesday May 30th 2006, 9:56 am
Filed under: youth ministry, personal, thinking..., music, youth work, emergent

some time ago, i read an article from new york magazine about “grups”, shorthand for a newly quantified demographic of adults who are erasing the generation gap. i found the article in a link from the thinkchristian post also had a link to an al mohler blog post about the same article. all three are worth reading (especially the article). however, i strongly think they (particularly the new york mag piece and even moreso al mohler’s post) have completely missed the point.

first a bit of a summary. a few quotes from the article:

He owns eleven pairs of sneakers, hasn’t worn anything but jeans in a year, and won’t shut up about the latest Death Cab for Cutie CD. But he is no kid. He is among the ascendant breed of grown-up who has redefined adulthood as we once knew it and killed off the generation gap.

This is an obituary for the generation gap. It is a story about 40-year-old men and women who look, talk, act, and dress like people who are 22 years old. It’s not about a fad but about a phenomenon that looks to be permanent. It’s about the hedge-fund guy in Park Slope with the chunky square glasses, brown rock T-shirt, slight paunch, expensive jeans, Puma sneakers, and shoulder-slung messenger bag, with two kids squirming over his lap like itchy chimps at the Tea Lounge on Sunday morning. It’s about the mom in the low-slung Sevens and ankle boots and vaguely Berlin-art-scene blouse with the $800 stroller and the TV-screen-size Olsen-twins sunglasses perched on her head walking through Bryant Park listening to Death Cab for Cutie on her Nano.

For a Grup, professional success is measured not by how many employees you have but by how much freedom you have to walk, or boogie-board, away.

There’s that tricky word again: passion. What’s with the Grups and passion? It’s all anyone wants to talk about. Passionate parents, passionate workers, passionate listeners to the new album by Wolf Parade.

here’s my gripe: i think the article wrongly focuses almost completely on clothing and music choices. then good ol’ al mohler takes this a step further, and implies that it’s an issue of immaturity, that growing up would entail knowing when to wear a good suit (my words, but not far from his).


let’s look at the positive intent here (something i’ve found to be extremely helpful in understanding any conflict or change). maybe the grups (do i qualify? i don’t wear $200 dollar jeans, but i do wear shorts or jeans everyday, and rarely anything but a t-shirt. and at 43, i’d rather listen to death cab for cutie or system of a down than led zepplin or the journey or anything that actually came out of my generation.) are rejecting the crap values of a previous generation. and, to take it a step further, maybe they’re rejecting the values of their own teenage years.

in other words…

how is not a GOOD thing that a 36 year-old is more interested in quality of life than in corporate climing? how is it not a GOOD thing that a 33 year-old would rather work a job that provides meaning and significance from contribution (even if it means less pay or ’status’ in the way that used to be quantified), rather than working a job that provides high pay or prestige or power over others, but robs the soul. and to the fixation with clothing and music found in the article and mohler’s post… well, i’m just baffled. how is a suit and tie somehow, instrinsicly, better? if ‘appropriate clothing’ is a societally-prescribed norm, it’s a “it is what it is” at most, and annoying group think at worst.

well. i could rant about this for a while, but i sense i’m rambling. let me just say that i want clothes that are comfortable and allow me to focus on my priorities in life, which do NOT include propping up a previous generation’s norms. and let me just say that i want to listen to music that moves my soul, not music that makes me think of the past — and since my spirit and soul continue to grow and change (thanks, god, transformation’s a pretty cool invention of yours!), music that moves my soul will likely continue to grow and change also.

HERE’S THE THING: the observation that the generation gap, as experienced in every previous generation, is disappearing… now THAT’S something worth talking about and studying and thinking about. what are the implications? what are the risks? what are the new opportunities this provides us — especially in the church? wow — just think of it! is it possible to conceive of a time when worship style wars won’t be drawn along generational lines? how cool would THAT be?

the person who compiled this terrifies me
Friday May 19th 2006, 4:00 pm
Filed under: music

a shockingly long and comprehensive list of links to 80s music videos. wow, a person could really lose a lot of time watching old flock of seagulls and metallica videos. um. i must get back to work now. just one more video. really. ok — just a couple more…

(ht to renee)

i so want this technology
Monday May 15th 2006, 9:50 am
Filed under: music

the 12 of us staying in the main lodge at this ranch just discovered how to use the iPod docking station recessed into the wall at the top of the hallway to the bedrooms. and there are volume controls in every room. so we’re now all listening to “the best of the carpenters” off my iPod, as wake-up music.

music i’m currently obsessively listening to
Friday April 21st 2006, 7:29 am
Filed under: music

how did i miss this guy all these years? “half-handed cloud” is the solo act of one of sufjan steven’s touring band members. my friend dave palmer writes:

John Ringhofer ( a member of Sufjan Stevens’ touring band) records and tours under the name Half-Handed Cloud. It’s an almost unexplainable mixture of toy instruments, Brian Wilson meets Flaming Lips with no budget, and as much pure joy as The Polyphonic Spree - all from one guy. HHC’s new record, HALOS & LASSOS, is out now and he’s on tour as I type. I can’t recommend this enough - particularly the live show.

i find great delight in danielson (in all their various incarnations: danielson familie, danielson family, tri-danielson, danielson). and half-hearted cloud has a similar vibe to me (though is more accessible than danielson): great jesus-y lyrics full of oddity and creativity, over some of the quirkiest music beds you’ll find anywhere. i found that iTunes has FIVE half-hearted cloud cds, going back to 2001. again, i ask, how did i miss this guy?

(ht to dave palmer)

crowdies win doves
Thursday April 06th 2006, 7:56 pm
Filed under: music

i’m really happy for the david crowder band: they last night (the ccm equiv of a grammy). nominated many times, finally won. it’s nice to be thanked and recognized by your peers.

post-tour recovery
Monday March 27th 2006, 2:16 pm
Filed under: personal, music

back at my desk, my rock-and-roll life is over.

i’m really glad i stayed an extra day on the tour, because i got to see university baptist church in waco (the david crowder band’s home church). while with the band for a few days, i continually noted how ‘normal’ they are, considering what they do. i saw why sunday morning: the guys in the band are grounded at ubc. they’re normal there — not celebrities. and they’re smart enough (intuitively or by choice) to know that it’s worth going way out of their way to be home on sunday mornings.

i was also greatly encouraged by the obvious pastoral heart david and toni have for ubc. it’s ever-present for them, in their thinking and hearts. they’re constantly thinking, brainstorming, talking, considering, how to help the church both stay on mission and move toward the future (especially in light of the tragic death of their friend and lead pastor, kyle lake, several months back). it’s difficult to describe why this was so encouraging to me: so let’s just leave it at that.

saturday night, after we arrived in waco at about 1am, i got to sleep in the loft in the studio david and toni built in the barn behind their home. if sleeping in a barn loft sounds like hay bales and drafts, you are not picturing this barn. this thing needs to be in architectural digest. toni has a truly shocking design sense.

ok — back to work.

an extremely helpful sign
Saturday March 25th 2006, 2:38 pm
Filed under: personal, music

i hadn’t realized the band (the david crowder band — see previous posts) are leading worship at their own church tomorrow morning in waco. i’ve always wanted to go to UBC, since i’m friends with these guys and with chris seay (who started it back in the day, but is no longer there). so i found a cheap flight on southwest from austin tomorrow, and am staying one more night. woo-hoo! party on, garth.

had to post this beautiful and helpful photo, taken inside the elevator (the sign was on the elevator door) at the ice-rink they played at last night in kearney, nebraska. now that’s some helpful information!

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