Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
To link Jesus nailed to the cross with slaughterhouses and an animal's fear might seem sacrilegious. But Bacon is a nonbeliever, and the notion of sacrilege has no place in his way of thinking; according to him, "Man now realizes that he is an accident, that he is a completely futile being, that he has to play out the game without reason." Seen from this angle, Jesus is that accident who, without reason, played out the game. The cross: the final point of the game played out the end without reason. So, no, not sacrilege; rather a clearsighted, sorrowing, thoughtful gaze trying to penetrate to the essential. And what essential thing is revealed when all the social dreams have evaporated and man sees "religious possibilities... completely canceled out for him?" The body. (pp. 13-14)
+ I see goth kids aching for contact with the supernatural and the whole explosion of vampire romanticism of Twilight vs. the equally edgy but spiritually honest music of Bono or Arcade Fire
There is, however, a certain peculiarity in the essence of beauty, a peculiarity in the status of art: namely, the convincingness of a true work of art is completely irrefutable and it forces even an opposing heart to surrender.But a work of art bears within itself its own verification: conceptions which are devised or stretched do not stand being portrayed in images, they all come crashing down, appear sickly and pale, convince no one. But those works of art which have scooped up the truth and presented it to us as a living force - they take hold of us, compel us, and nobody ever, not even in ages to come, will appear to refute them.
It has been a very interesting day... and as it comes to a close I STILL find myself standing with Mako and McCarthy and Bono and Dillard and Solzhenitsyn.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Good religion is always about seeing rightly: “The lamp of the body is the eye; if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light,” as Jesus says in Matthew 6:22. How you see is what you see. And to see rightly is to be able to be fully present—without fear, without bias, and without judgment. It is such hard work for the ego, for the emotions, and for the body, that I think most of us would simply prefer to go to church services.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Second, I have NO illusions that in a year I am going to be able to do what some players have been working all their lives to formulate. And that is very humbling in all the right ways. At the same time, it is also an incredible opportunity to both stretch my mind and my ability as a musician - and there is NO down side to this at all. In fact, I am totally pumped about practicing at least an hour each day. As my honey said this morning at breakfast: there aren't many 58 year old guys who are willing to learn an entirely new form of music. I'm not surprised your mind hurts. (And sometimes it does because this is all so new!)
And third, what a privilege - and spiritual blessing - to be able to step outside of ministry to just work on music with a very talented musician who is also a dear friend. He is giving up his time and talent to work with this dinosaur - and I feel blessed - because this is yet another sign of God's grace in my life and today I am so very, very grateful. Too often clergy don't take care of themselves - I know - I've done the martyr/self-sacrificing trip before and it is a total burnout and bore!
It reminds me of the Lent that I made the commitment to ANOTHER favorite guitar man - don E of Tucson - to simply play/jam with him every Tuesday night from 8-10 pm. It became my Lenten discipline one year - a time to both nourish my soul and explore my music with a soul mate - and it changed my life. After 90 minutes of a meeting, for example, I would tell the folk: "Well, it is time for me to go pray with rock and roll." I would leave the meeting - often to their shock and disbelief - and head over to a jam session that challenged and healed me. For a while the church people thought their pastor had flipped, but I was practicing self-care. You know, that love your neighbor as YOURSELF stuff.
Groovin' cleared my head. It opened my heart and my senses, too. And it gave me a chance to grow in friendship, musicianship and prayer. I feel that way about the work Andy and I are doing in preparation for Istanbul: it is all pure grace - and I am one of the luckiest men alive!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
My dearest aunt, Donna, who died about 12 years ago this winter, taught me to DANCE to this song. She was 5 years older than me - more of an older sister than an auntie - and we used hang together LOTS throughout the years. When I was not yet in school, she played me Little Richard's "Tutti Fruitti" and that changed my world! One Easter break when I was 7, I spent the week with my grandparents - Donna was 12 - and she kept playing this record over and over and showing me how to dance "dirty" to it! Damn, it was the best and after all these years without her EVERY TIME I hear the Isley Brothers start to wail, I am transported to that little aqua-marine living room by the Atlantic Ocean in southern Connecticut where Donna taught me to dirty dance to "Shout!"
So we practiced it tonight with my church folk - and it was a blast. A little ragged like good rock and soul should be - some sweet harmonies along with lots of sweat and laughter, too - all of which set me to some random thoughts I have discovered about Christian community from my years of making music in church:
+ First, community requires proximity and practice with a defined group of people. Individuals can jam - and that's a lot of fun - but it is only when the same group of musicians get together over and over - and work through a song - that something exciting and beautiful happens. Not everybody understands this truth; sometimes people think they can just show up and be allowed to sing or play and it will work. Well, not EVERYBODY is able to sing or play music - which is why there is something called an audience when it comes to musical performance - or a choir and a congregation, right? The choir helps the congregation participate and sing well. Same with authentic Christian community: it takes practice and intentionality and lots of time spent together listening, correcting, rethinking, suggesting new directions and tons of repetition before a song - or a band or a community - comes together.
+ Second, authentic community has rhythm. There are up times and down times, seasons when things fit almost like magic and other times when the best you can hope for is just showing up. Making music is like that, too. After a group of musicians have been working together for a while, they understand the ebb and flow of one another; they can sense the moods and intuitively respond. But not at first: in the early days of a band you do a lot of bumping in to one another and stepping on one an other's toes and groove. Hopefully, in time, you become less awkward and clumsy so that you listen and watch with greater sensitivity. In other words, you grasp the rhythm of the music making. Tonight, after we worked through Mary Chapin Carpenter's song, "Why Shouldn't We" and ended it with an a capella version of "Amazing Grace," it felt like things were over. I wanted more - I get obsessive with band practice and wanted to push the envelope - but clearly the Spirit had spoken: you are done. Anything more would have been both selfish and exhausting. So we quit - the rhythm had moved us all from music into silence - and we violate that rhythm at our own risk.
+ Third, in all good music making there is always a place for both tradition and innovation. Everybody LOVES to sing their old favorites - and it is crucial to give this expression - while at the same time pushing the envelope, too. Singing memory bank hymns or folk songs gives us all a chance to connect and shine in a deeply satisfying way. At the same time, it nourishes a community for individuals to be given a chance to both improvise on a riff as well as introduce new and creative music into the mix so that the gig is more than sentimentality or nostalgia. Gertrud Mueller-Nelson once wrote in To Dance with God that sentimentality is a half-truth - a partial emotion - and half truths are... lies. The best bands know this and creatively mix up old favorites with new songs - even reworking some of their old chestnuts - so that a new insight can be born. Look at what Springsteen does with one of his old haunting acoustic blues from Nebraska during the Seeger Sessions tour: here is the new/old thing - with lots of room for tradition mixed with creativity - in a way that leaves everyone blessed.
+ And fourth, just as every good band has a natural leader - or group of leaders - so, too, with community. If everybody is in charge, it is chaos; if nobody is in charge, nothing creative happens. Think of Lennon and McCartney who drove the Beatles; yes, sometimes they were too overbearing and Harrison suffered; at the same time, they had a creative vision and achieved some of the most enduring, meaningful and beautiful pop music of our generation. Or Springsteen. Or U2 - who explore both the vision of Bono and the Edge in communion with Larry and Adam. Leadership is essential for music and community, but it has to be a careful and attentive leadership lest it miss the cues others have to share.
We experienced all of these truths tonight sorting through some of our TGE tunes. We kept working on the bridge to one gospel song - or refining the harmonies at the end of another rocker - or even practicing taking visual cues from the leader during "Shout." It was a whole lot of fun and a whole lot of work. There are great singers alongside modest amateurs and there was space - given planning - for both to shine. There is NOTHING automatic about this kind of sharing and there is nothing automatic about authentic Christian community either: making fun and satisfying music or helping everyone's gifts to shine takes TONS of careful attention and planning by a leader. I would go so far as to say that there is nothing romantic about playing music in a band or Christian community either and those who think otherwise are more part of the problem than the solution.
So, here's to making beautiful music in real Christian community...
Monday, October 25, 2010
Earlier today I came across two observations that give some shape and form to why I continue to celebrate American music and poetry each year at Thanksgiving. Richard Rohr, writing from the Franciscan tradition, writes:
Hugh of St. Victor (1078-1141) and Richard of St. Victor (1123-1173) wrote that humanity was given three sets of eyes, each building on the previous one. The first eye was the eye of the flesh (thought or sight), the second was the eye of reason (meditation or reflection), and the third eye was the eye of true understanding (contemplation). I cannot emphasize strongly enough that the separation and loss of these three necessary eyes is at the basis of much of the short-sightedness and religious crises of the Western world. Lacking such wisdom, it is very difficult for churches, governments, and leaders to move beyond ego, the desire for control, and public posturing. Everything divides into oppositions such as liberal vs. conservative, with vested interests pulling against one another. Truth is no longer possible at this level of conversation. Even theology becomes more a quest for power than a search for God and Mystery.
And Brian Woodcock, a member of my own Reformed tradition, tell us that:
Being spiritual is not the same as being religious. Religion is about what you believe and do. Spirituality is what to do with quality; it is a matter of the heart. Religion draws lines while spirituality reads between them. It tends to avoid definitions, boundaries and battles. It is inclusive and holistic… it is characterized by sensitivity, gentleness, depth, openness, flow, feeling, quietness, wonder, paradox, acceptance and waiting.
My experience has always been that all of the creative arts help me claim "eyes to see" and move in the way of the Spirit. Writer Dallas Willard once observed that most of us today live on the Emmaus Road. All around us God is pouring out something of the sacred into our hearts, minds, souls and lives and yet we have been conditioned NOT to see:
We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than the one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage - as long as you have doubt. (NOTE: I do not sense that doubt is the absence of faith but a counter intuitive way of opening to God.) The fashion of the age has identified mental sharpness with a pose, not with genuine intellectual method and character. Only a very hardy individualist or social rebel - or one desperate for another life - stands any chance of discovering the depth and promise of the spiritual life today.
So... we share the depth of joy and sorrow in music and poetry on Thanksgiving Eve because like the Quakers: how can I KEEP from singing!?! I don't do share music to be didactic or manipulative, but simply to say: the Spirit of God is alive and well - can you feel it - can you claim it - are you alive? Here's a tune Dianne has sensed she wants to share at this festival in this very spirit...
Sunday, October 24, 2010
+ That's one of the funny things about preaching - sometimes no matter how hard you work, the message heads south - and you have to get out of the way and see where the Spirit leads. I recall hearing Jeremiah Wright speak to a group of African-American pastors once about preaching. One of his many insights was: even Ted Williams got a hit only once every three times up at bat - and THAT got him into the Hall of Fame. So take it slow; we have these treasures in earthen vessels and if you get a hit every three times, you are doing as well as Ted Williams!
+ There's a lot of humility to preaching - it is one of my spiritual disciplines - and most of the times when a message heads off a cliff I trust enough to smile, get out of the way and let the Spirit lead me back on track. Today was one of those days.
Later in the day, the Berkshire Association met for Taize worship and it was SWEET. Janet came and played the most heavenly flute and Quentin brought his violin and made it sing, too. It was a good way to end the day after spending the weekend with my children. Now for some quiet time and dinner with my honey. (Damn, do I love this song...)
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
I hope Michal bakes some of her award-winning bread! Dianne baked some whole-wheat herb crackers for the party and I know there will be some Monterey goat cheese (as Michal works there part-time.) One of the joys about being back in this neck of the woods - beyond the obvious joys and challenges of our new ministry - is being closer to the girls. Living on the other side of the United States became way too tough to continue given how important these two young women - and their husbands - are to Di and myself.
Being the father of these two adult women continues to be fascinating - and humbling - and joyful. And sometime during each visit, I almost always find myself full to overflowing with tears for some unexpected reason. Buechner speaks of tears nicely:
You never know what may cause them. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music or a face you've never seen before. A pair of somebody's old shoes can do it. Almost any movie made before the great sadness that came over the world after the Second World War, a horse cantering across a meadow, the high school basketball team running out onto the gym floor at the start of a game. You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure. Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.
They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go to next.
So... we're heading out now to see the kids. (These tunes from my favorite Joni always speak to me of autumn, children and getting together for feasts as the days roll by.)
Thursday, October 21, 2010
What a BRILLIANT conceptual artist who takes real life and explores both the promise and the problems of certain contexts by sharing them in larger than life ways. He is embracing but also challenging the ordinary by exposing the extraordinary so that we might see what is almost always right before our eyes but we're too busy - or afraid - or even biased to notice.
The Guardian (UK) writes: As a teenager, he started out as a graffiti artist but began taking photographs when he found a camera on the Paris Métro. Now aged 26, he mixes the two forms and styles himself a "photograffeur", pasting oversize black-and-white photographic canvases in surprising public locations. It is something of a point of honour never to ask permission from the authorities.
"The fact that I stay anonymous means I can exhibit wherever I want," he explains with a broad grin, a plate of microwaved lamb tagine balanced precariously on his knees. "No one knows my name, so it's easy for me to travel."
In the aftermath of the 2004 riots in the Parisian suburbs, JR chose to exhibit in the grand central districts of his home town, pasting up photographs on the walls of the Marais. Portrait of a Generation featured close-up pictures of the young residents of the banlieues pulling funny faces through a fish-eye lens. Instead of the immigrant thugs of popular imagination, the Parisians who walked past JR's photographs were confronted with a more human image. "Most of the media shots of the rioters were taken with a long lens," explains JR, who comes from a mixed-race background with Tunisian and Eastern European heritage. "I used a 28mm lens to capture them really close up." (read more @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/mar/07/street-art-jr-photography)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
My earliest memory church – and its life-giving community in Christ – involves music. I know that comes as a huge surprise to you, but it really is true. Sometime about second grace, my parents decided that we needed to get back to church, so we wound up at First Congregational Church of Newtown, Connecticut.
• I got my first Bible there, I later interviewed there while we were courting one another during the search process and I’ve had a few friends serve there, too.
• At any rate, in second grade, when my family showed up, the elementary school children were working on a version of “Jesus Loves Me” and I was thrown into the mix.
• We practiced for what seemed like forever – probably only three weeks – so that when the first Sunday after Labor Day rolled around, we could sing it in church.
I still have some recollection of both how big that Sanctuary looked to me back then, as well as how happy the people looked when we were singing. To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure why everyone looked so happy – we weren’t the best children’s choir in the land – but I can still remember looking out and seeing real joy in people’s eyes. So, even though I couldn’t tell you why, I knew it felt good – and involved music and Jesus – and I didn’t really need to know a whole lot more.
• Jesus loved me – his people seemed pleased when the children sang to the Lord – and there was a place for everyone – young and old – in that big, old New England Congregational Church.
• Not much has changed for me over all those years…
Oh sure, I’ve gone to seminary – been ordained into Christian ministry for almost 30 years – and done my doctoral work, too. I’ve raised a family in the church – been divorced and remarried in the church, too – and served five congregations in pastoral ministry. But mostly I’m still that kid singing “Jesus Loves Me” in church trusting that in God’s own way and time – which is almost a total mystery to me – God will work all things out. Like we often say in the United Church of Christ: whoever you are – and where ever you are – on life’s journey, there is a place for you among us.
For you are invited here – encouraged here – welcomed here to become your best self as you give glory to God. As that wise old theologian, Karl Barth, is reputed to have said after being asked, “After all of your writing, is there something you want the world to know?” To which he said, after pausing and smiling, “You bet… Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
Today I want to talk with you about God’s invitation. We’ve started this year’s Stewardship campaign which some people hate – and other fear – and most merely tolerate. Because, you see, most people think of the stewardship campaign as just fund-raising.
• And to be fair, that is partially true: every year it takes almost $60,000 to keep this place open, heated and in reasonable shape.
• It takes another $150,000 to pay the various salaries and benefits and insurance – to say nothing of our mission and ministry. So, yes, there is some fund-raising taking place during the campaign for that is just a fact of life.
But raising money is not ALL of the campaign: fundamentally, what we are doing is considering what God’s invitation to us means – and making some decisions about what we’re going to do about it. So let me suggest to you three insights about God’s invitation to us that you may have not considered.
First, Christ calls us – each of us and all of us – to live beyond the lowest common denominator of our culture. Jesus invites us to live beyond the bottom line – the bare minimum – what is often either the easiest or the least costly approach to people, problems and real life. You see, the way of Christ is NOT just about being nice. Being nice has its place, to be sure, but when Jesus tells us that we must pick up our Cross to follow him, he wasn’t just talking about manners and being nice.
He was inviting us to live beyond the lowest common denominator of existence – which is quite a counter-cultural notion. Back in Tucson, there was a young father named Paul who got very, very angry with me one day at church council when I said, “Look, the time has come for us to start emphasizing what we can give back to the Lord rather that just what we can take from church.” To which he exploded: “No, no, no, no, no! The church exists to help me and my family – I don’t have time to give back much beyond our small contribution – so stop talking about this giving back and sharing crap… or I’ll quit.”
• Now, you need to know something about your pastor: don’t ever threaten me or try to hold your membership or your financial contribution hostage with me, ok?
• Not only will I be all over you like white on rice about how unfaithful to Christ Jesus such selfishness is, but I will also out-stubborn you on this one because holding back money or time as a bribe is an insult to the one who gave his life for us on the Cross. End of discussion - next question - please!
Well, as you might imagine, at first I was stunned by Paul’s corrupt notion of the church. He was operating out of a cultural understanding that sees everything as a commodity to be bought and sold. He believed the church was to provide a service – at the lowest possible cost – and if he wasn’t pleased with his service, then he would go elsewhere just like he would at a restaurant or gas station. He was – and probably still is – trapped in a lowest common denominator understanding of the church.
Much like the Pharisee in today’s story from Luke who celebrated his accomplishments – which for his social group were the lowest common denominator of the day – it was all about getting the most and spending the least – which has NOTHING to do with the way of Jesus and his love. Small wonder the Lord tells his disciples: both men got what they prayed for – one asked for nothing and got it – and the other accepted his emptiness and prayed for grace and was filled with the love of heaven. First, Christ invites to live beyond the lowest common denominator, ok?
Second, God invites us to live beyond our fears. What does the prophet Joel tells the broken-hearted and wounded souls of Israel?
Fear not, Earth! Be glad and celebrate! God has done great things.
Fear not, wild animals! The fields and meadows are greening up.
The trees are bearing fruit again: a bumper crop of fig trees and vines!
Children of Zion, celebrate! Be glad in your God.
Fear not – another counter-cultural invitation – don’t you think? Every where I look – or listen – there are fear-mongers at work to manipulate:
• It would be easy to pick on the politicians right now – it is election season – and fear and anger are flowing almost as fast and furious as the special-interest money.
• But religious leaders exploit our fears – as do bankers and credit unions in this economy – and way too many others.
So let me ask you: what does Scripture teach about fear? Does anyone recall the teaching that perfect loves casts OUT all fear?
• What does the angel Gabriel say to Mary when the young virgin is startled by the Lord’s invitation to give birth to the Savior? Fear not… What about the song of the angels to the shepherds on that first Christmas Eve? Fear not once again…
• What does Jesus tell his disciples in the upper room before the horror of Good Friday? Fear not, I am going away for a while but where I go, you shall come, too. So fear not…
• And to Mary on the other side of Easter when she is grieving in the garden and doesn’t recognize the Christ of the Resurrection? One more time: fear not!
And what was true then is still true today: God invites us to live beyond our fears into the hope of Jesus Christ and his resurrection.
And third, God’s invitation to us is always to live beyond ourselves: do you remember what St. Paul’s favorite name for the church was? The BODY OF CHRIST! Not the hyper-individualized expression of faith that is so popular today – not the cranky curmudgeon of Christ – or the obsessively childish or adolescent notion of Jesus either. Rather, the body of Christ – the inter-related, inter-connected, living, breathing, loving, hope-filled and forgiven body of Christ.
God decides who gets what and when. You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you're still one body. It's exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently and call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive… A body isn't just a single part blown up into something huge. It's all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, "I'm not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don't belong to this body," would that make it so? If Ear said, "I'm not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don't deserve a place on the head," would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.
We are one body – Christ’s body – not MY body or your body –but Christ’s body called to give shape, form and expression to the resurrection in our community. And that is what God’s invitation is all about: the Lord takes us beyond the lowest common denominator of our culture, beyond our fears and beyond ourselves into the love of Jesus. And here’s the thing: it takes a life time of practicing this to live into the invitation – I’m not kidding – a whole life time and I am just as frail and confused about living into this invitation as anyone else.
At church council last week, we were talking about some of the ways challenges we have faced as a congregation when one member asked me, “Did you ever feel discouraged or disheartened in your ministry with us?” So I told him what I have shared with only a few: “Oh my God, yes – from right after our first Christmas all through that first Lent I kept saying to Dianne, “I’ve made a mistake – I’m going to give them my letter of resignation.” It was a tough time – for a lot of good and some bad reasons – but it took its toll on me and I was thinking I should throw in the towel.
Well, that caused a certain awkward silence at council (as you might expect) which prompted Jon to ask, “So was there a clear moment when you had a change of heart?” To which I said with equal gusto, “Oh my God, yes – on that first Palm Sunday” – and let me explain…
Somehow or another given all our planning, the communion liturgy for Palm Sunday had been left out of the bulletin. I really still don’t know who was to blame, but it happened. And after a series of discouragements during the previous months, I came to worship that day very, very frustrated. Jennifer Kerwood and Sara Milano were going to set up communion but when I got here I said in a totally defeated voice, “Oh never mind. Somehow it got left out of the bulletin so let’s not make waves today.” I have to tell you that both women STARED at me like something out of invasion of the body snatchers until Jennifer sputtered: “WHAT are you talking about? You’ve been teaching us about not letting go of the little crap and celebrating the big picture. Come on man, get with it and practice what you preach!”
I reluctantly said, “Yeah, sure, we’ll do communion – after the regular liturgy” – but I can tell you that my heart wasn’t in it and during the morning announcements I said as much. Then, during the passing of the peace, Bobby Hyde said to me, “Let’s do communion around the table, ok? It’s so much better that way.” To which I probably whined some sad sack, “Yeah, sure, whatever…”
And at the end of worship, I remember saying, “Ok, after the postlude those who would like to stay for communion” – expecting it would only be 10 people – “can join me up here around the communion table if you like” and sat down. I closed my eyes and listened to the organ postlude before glumly walking up to the table thinking this was going to be yet another disappointment. And nearly EVERYONE in church that day – 85+ people – joined me around the Lord’s Table – to CELEBRATE communion. To BE the Body of Christ. – to claim the Lord’s resurrection and live into the invitation that God shares with us in love.
And that’s when it hit me once again: this invitation is NOT about ME – or you – or you or you – it is about how God has invited all of us beyond the low expectations, fear and our self-centered obsession into Christ’s grace. I have a picture of that Sunday and keep it on my computer to remind me again and again that God doesn’t’ give up on us but keeps inviting us to dream dreams and claim visions. And THAT is the good news for today for those who have ears to hear.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Funny things with cars: anybody else get sentimental about them? This one is NOT a beauty - the former owners let it totally go to seed - but it was so cute! And I love NOT putting my money into big car/bank payments. What's more, this bad boy took us to Montreal last year and all over Massachusetts and Vermont, too.
Here's a great old car and love song - not that we did any racing in my Geo - but still...
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Some treats will include a new gospel song from our own Brian Staubach and the return of great friends like Andy Kelly, Linda Worster and Bert Marshall. I am also delighted that two new performers - but dear souls - are joining the fun: Graham Sturtz and Hal Lefferts. I had the privilege of celebrating Graham's wedding a few years back.
And Hal - well we've known one another on and off since junior high school - and have played music with each other back in the day. He was the lead guitarist in our high school garage band known as "Creepin' Jesus" - and played some acoustic gigs together a few years later, too. It will be a very sweet reunion. (BTW you should check out his totally excellent radio show - WTF - @ robinhoodradio.com/schedule.php)
You can check out these artists here:
+ Hal Lefferts: www.reverbnation.com/hallefferts
+ Bert Marshall: www.gospelofmarkalive.com/music.html
+ Linda Worster: www.lindaworster.com/
+ Andy Kelly: www.berkshireeagle.com/berkshiresweek/ci_16272829
I am hoping a good size "ad hoc gospel choir" will turn up for the group tunes - trying to keep that tradition alive, too. And as I did some research into our "thanksgiving for North American musicians who have gone on to the big band in the sky" we'll remember Solomon Burke, Kate McGarrigle, Leana Horn and some of our brothers in both the Temptation and the Isley Brothers.
So... come on down and support our music and raising funds for emergency fuel in the Berkshires this winter. The fun starts at 7 pm on Thanksgiving Eve: Wednesday, November 24th at First Church on Park Square. Here's a clip from last year...
Friday, October 15, 2010
In an interview with Krista Tippett a few years ago, the late Jean Vanier gave contemporary people of compassion his antidote for despair:...
A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. As soon as I saw that the Psalm for today was 37, I went to Robert Alter's excellent comme...
Some days are too full for words. Some slither by at an agonizing and torturous pace while still others barely register themselves at all. ...