Thinking Out Loud

January 16, 2013

Wednesday Link List

In the first link today, I want you to join me in a promotion project for a deserving songwriter and embed the video on your Facebook page, your blog, or whatever it takes to spread the word.

  • Our first link today is the above video. I’ve been corresponding with the creator of this for some time, but it couldn’t go public until now.  “An uplifting song that furnishes a concept of peace and oneness for humanity in deliberate contrast to John Lennon’s iconic anthem, ‘Imagine’.”  Here’s the story behind the song. I want to encourage you to share this with everyone you know! 
  • Here’s an article I wrote for C201, that I may yet reblog here. It’s about Jesus’ last words to his disciples, and they may not be the words you’re thinking of right now. 
  • And another C201 post that is both packed with scripture and introduces the new Chris Tomlin song, Whom Shall I Fear.
  • Essay of the week: Canadian Dave Carrol explains his faith, his faith journey, and his ‘conflicted’ Protestant and Catholic sides to a largely secular audience in his city’s newspaper.
  • The Harvard Theological Review is postponing publication of a major article on the papyrus fragment in which Jesus seems to refer to his wife, raising further doubts about a discovery that was set to turn Christian history on its head. More at Religion News
  • Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove critiques a PBS special on the abolitionists; noting what the producers missed and what he is pleased they included.
  • If you’ve been following the Jack Schaap story, you’ll want to know that First Baptist Church in Hammond (IN) has hired a new pastor, John Wilkerson. More also at the church website.
  • Meanwhile in another casting call, how about Brad Pitt as Pontius Pilate?
  • Would Brian McLaren be a good fit to replace Louis Giglio at the Presidential bash?
  • And what if a letter from Barack Obama to Louis Giglio looked something like this letter?  Plus, I couldn’t overlook a piece that Gabe Lyons wrote on how Louis was ‘bullied off the stage.’
  • Pushing past the controversy, Christianity Today reported on Louis Giglio’s signature event, The Passion Conference. Between Passion and Urbana, it’s easy to see what American Christian youth were up to over the holidays. So why does a search for Urbana at CT turn up nothing?
  • While it doesn’t have a Christian message, this 3-minute public service announcement from the Australian government should give you good reason to slow down in all areas of life.
  • As the countdown begins to the Big Game in the U.S. (February 3rd, if you’re wondering) poet Greg Asimakoupoulos: laments that these sports extravaganzas now routinely happen on Sundays. As game day approaches, you might want to copy and paste this to the American football fans you know.  [HT: David Fisher]
  • The issue of prayer at civic events switches this week to a debate about the subject at West Point Academy.
  • Mike Duran is closing in on 300 comments for a piece he wrote about websites that put evangelicalism under the microscope or simply put it to ridicule. Some of the language is edgy, but if you’re okay with that, check out, The Anti-Evangelical Hate Machine. Later, in an effort to better understand one of the bloggers, he interviews Darrel Dow of Stuff Fundies Like.  (SFL is also the source for today’s lower graphic.)
  • A few weeks ago we attended a New Year’s Eve-Eve night of ‘clean comedy’ with Timmy Boyle, and learned that a number of comedians in Canada are creating a family-friendly comedy circuit. Here’s a story of Matt Falk, a similar entertainer whose debut album topped the iTunes comedy category on its day of release. 
  • Also for my Canadian readers, next Monday night at 8:00 PM on CBC TV’s Mr. D., history teacher Gerry Duncan wades into religion with this line, “Jesus was Jewish and even he was Catholic.” Sigh.
  • Ending with a video since we opened with one: Cindy Jacobs tells an interviewer about the ‘miracle’ of her shoes not wearing out.

Christian Family Off For Vacation

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March 26, 2011

Passion’s Passion Evident on New Worship CD

Music Review

If someone asked you if you’ve heard the new Chris Tomlin album, you would be forgiven for saying, “Which one?”  While And If Our God is For Us is topping the Christian music charts, six of the twelve songs on Here for You were either written or co-written by Tomlin.

His music defines the sound of modern worship in U.S. churches, so that’s why I’ve begun this review of the new Passion album with a reference to the man who was arguably its weightiest contributor.  Additional songs were written by other recognizable names including Rueben Morgan, Martin Smith, Matt Redman, Louis Giglio, Matt Maher and David Crowder.

In terms of performance, five of the twelve songs are performed by Tomlin, with an additional one co-credited to Matt Redman with additional songs featuring David Crowder Band, Kristian Stanfill, Kristy Nockels and LeCrae (this being, after all, a youth-oriented project.)

With the exception of LeCrae — for me anyway, not being a rapper — these are very accessible, ready-to-sing worship songs.  The inclusion of Rueben Morgan is a good place to suggest that Here for You is very similar, on several levels, to the youth oriented worship of Hillsong United.

The live album was recorded mere weeks ago, at the Passion 2011 conference with more than 20,000 university-aged students in Atlanta, Georgia on January 1st-4th, 2011.

One of my favorite songs is Symphony, which will probably turn out to become better known as “Stand in Awe.”

The deepest oceans, rising mountains
How they sing your symphony
Let the earth fear the Lord
And all the people of the world
Stand in awe, Stand in awe.

…After listening to the album again yesterday, I considered continuing the usual song-by-song commentary, but I want to talk about the event itself.

In my day, the big youth events were summer festivals, but with the growth, rightly or wrongly, of the conference ‘industry,’ more opportunities are available for youth to connect with youth from other parts of the continent for corporate worship, contemporary concerts and some of the best youth communicators.

If you’re in the target demographic for these things, you need to find a way to get to a couple, at least, before you outgrow the opportunity.  If your church doesn’t send a group, start your own group, or latch on to another church’s group that’s going.  The events are expensive, but just skip a couple of video games.

If you’re outside the target demographic, but live near an event taking place, find out if they need adult volunteers.  Personally, I’d be thrilled just to be standing outside in the hallway when a thing like this is happening.

Finally, if you’re not only outside the target demographic, but are fairly certain you’d find the music far too loud, you can still be involved in something that is huge in the spiritual formation of a young person.  Consider sponsoring some teens in your church, or, better yet, setting up a subsidy fund that brings the price further below the advertised group rates.  No kid should be denied an opportunity for spiritual growth simply because they can’t afford it, and even in the most affluent churches, there are kids who can’t afford it.

I say all that because with a live conference recording like this, there’s a tendency to end the review with a trite, “You had to be there.” But in truth, “You need to be there.”  Don’t miss the next one.

…I tried to find some good YouTube clips from the conference so you could get the general idea, but they just don’t exist, so for now, I’m going to use this unofficial overview, which had only had about 90 views as of last night:

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