Music Recording Project

Each Thursday, my friend Keisha and I go to my brother’s house to do some music recording for a CD for our church. We’ve met up twice so far to record, and it’s been a blast! With three kids in tow, things can get interesting, but so far, we’ve made it work.

First, we record the different instrumental parts. Eventually, we will add vocals.

Kyrie wanted to join in on the recording, so she sang “Jesus Loves Me.”

At first, she was nervous. She shyly approached Uncle Matthew to ask if she could sing something to record. After a few takes, and getting flustered a few times, she nailed it. And she was so excited! It was a very sweet thing to witness. Now Kyrie and I can relate to each other—music recording is hard! But it’s also a lot of fun.

Filed under: Music | 3 Comments

Music to my Heart

Recently I was able to play music with a friend, and it was wonderful. I’ve neglected my poor violin for a while now, stacking up excuses as to why I don’t pick it up often enough—for one, the kids beg me to let them play whenever I pick it up to play music—but I’m noticing that as I play more, the novelty is beginning to wear off for them and they’re giving me more space. And the more that I pick it up to play it, the more I look forward to playing it again the next day.

Music has always been an extremely important part of my life, and in many ways, I feel like it’s my second language (sometimes it feels more like my first). Music will be an integral part of my children’s education, and our home will always be filled with songs. It’s something that’s just in my heart and has been since before I can remember. In my most despairing moments, music has been a source of comfort for me. It’s always been self-revealing in a healing way, even if it’s simultaneously painful.

Sometimes I will just melt into the music, or dance without reserve, or belt out the melody, or play along on my violin…but no matter what, as long as I breathe, I want to have music.

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Why Contemporary Music Makes Congregational Singing Difficult

Tom Schwegler offers insight into why contemporary music makes congregational singing difficult over on the Internet Monk’s blog.

I think Schwegler is right on. I’ve always had a problem with finding a way to incorporate contemporary music in such a way that it’s good for the congregation. I think Schwegler put some of my own thoughts into the words I couldn’t find. His points sum up my own thoughts:

Complexity: Many contemporary songs are made for soloists, not congregations. Nothing is worse to me than a passionate band singing for the congregation. That just irks me. It makes true the charge of entertainment worship.

Less information: As someone who doesn’t read music, but can generally follow notes (most of the time), I find it quite annoying to go into a church and hear a song I’ve never heard before and expect to sing it. Sometimes I can; sometimes I can’t. I want to see the music.

More oral tradition:It also vexes me to hear a worship leader sing a song contrary to the way you might hear it on CCM. I want to know what I am singing before I start singing or at least have a road map.

Chords vs. tunes: I’ve always been fond of a piano or organ (mostly piano) leading worship (Forrest is trying to convince me a guitar and drums are better, but now I’ve obtained newly read ammunition!). I’ve never understood why I felt that guitar didn’t work as well for leading congregational music, but I think Schwegler’s right in asserting it’s because guitars play chords, not tunes. It may also be that I am partial to piano over guitars; I hardly ever see anyone play an acoustic guitar in a way that doesn’t sound cheap when it comes to worship. My wife assures me that it’s just because I’ve never been in a church that plays acoustic guitars well, but I think it’s because my Catholic-Lutheran upbringing has given me a particular standard of what music should sound like.

Esther plays “Panther”

I’ve probably said this a million times, but Rachel’s family is freakishly musical. Her sister Rebekah plays viola and used to play flute. Isaiah can play everything well (really), but he has the musical drive of a potato. Rachel, of course, is a violinist. Matthew is a ridiculously good drummer (you can see him play here). Her brother Nathan just started playing guitar (though I recall him playing Toccata in Fugue D at the fair on a random piano when he was like 8—a song taught to him by his then 12-year-old brother, Andrew). And then there’s Esther, who is like a little Rachel in personality, and the gem of our hearts.

Esther started playing piano a couple of months ago, and after about ten lessons came up with this song which she named “Panther.”

Filed under: Family, Music | 5 Comments


I was just listening to Rebecca St. James and Todd Agnew sing “Our Great God,” and it just reminded me how thankful I feel right now.

We’ve had a ton of bills lately with the new table (we outgrew the old one), computer (it died), washer and dryer (they were dying together), computer, midwife, doula, tuition, and visits from family. God has provided a lot of money to meet those bills. I mean a lot. Close to $10,000 in the last three weeks. (I broke a Black Friday sales record and received my overload pay from teaching all in the last three weeks.) That almost covers everything (yeah, they add up). What would normally have been a stressful time has not been that bad.

I have a beautiful new son. The birth was incredible. It couldn’t have gone any more perfectly. The doula was incredible when it came to supporting Rachel. The whole time Rachel was in labor, I kept thanking God for her. The midwife was great too, but let the doula pretty much handle things.

My daughter continues to grow in her relationship to Christ. She amazes me sometimes.

I’m glad to be in a church where we can chant, receive communion every week, feel loved, and our children can commune. We’ve actually been able to develop a relationship with a fellow congregation member (though in its early stages, it’s nice to be able to connect to someone other than the pastor and his family). The lady is a bit older than us, but her youngest son is close to Kyrie’s age.

My class this semester will be taught by Reggie Kidd, and it’s on my favorite subject. How great is that? I’ve been able to finish most of the books (I saved the best ones for last, so woohoo).

I’ve had off of work for three straight days. I don’t think I’ve had more than one day in a row off since August (and even then I was usually working on my day off). It’s been a time of healing and rest (though I must say I am wiped out from all the work I am doing—but it’s different work, so in a big way, it’s restful).

We have family coming to visit. Forrest and Rebekah will be here in less than two weeks. The Enloe family also plans to come by. Mommy and daddy plan on coming in February. It will be so nice to have company again, and it’s nice to have a table that will fit everyone (tightly though!).

I love how all of our close friends’ families are growing. Exponential growth is nice when it involves friends.

We are planning to stay our entire summer in Spokane, if possible. Actually, it would be nice to just move up there, so maybe a job can fall in our laps (pretty please!).

It’s Advent. The long green season is fully over.

Oh, Lord remind us once again of your wonderful works. Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God.

Mahmoud, SNL, and Flock of Seagulls

Okay, so SNL just did a hilarious short video, combining a rap with the 1982 hit “And I Ran (So Far Away)” by Flock of Seagulls and changing the lyrics to apply to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I’ll have to post the link as soon as it’s up online.

Update: Here’s the clip. So disturbing.

Theological Rap: Straight Tribbin’

If you haven’t heard this, you should:

Tru Dawgma – Straight Tribbin’

Eschatological know-how, not evangelical lowbrow
Postmodern cash cow
Revelation based on canonization
The millennial nation looms in dispensation
I spit pedagogy orthodoxy
Prima manifesto in the incarnation proxy
Imprimatur, my roots be the hypostatic union
The theocratic fusion, infusin’

Portiuncula mentalities be waxin’
Straight tribulation factions gaining esoteric traction
No apology, my strict epistemology
Will influence doxology and put you in a quandary
Infralapsarian… tribulation prose
Makes me wary and your pragmatism’s blatantly exposed
I Didache your Tim Lahaye while rapture spankin’ Jerry Jenkins…
Now cogitate this great awakenin’

Tribba-what (what?), Tribba-who (who?)
Flex eschatological like straight tribbahs do (2x)

Rapture, comin’ at ya, gonna fetch ya, gonna catch ya
I be a theocrat with exegesis comin’ natural
Ontology gazes in the wake of Armageddon
Pleroma in soma, not a disconnected remnant
Reviviscence is valid and callus as operatum
While your unbelief and disposition won’t even fade Him
Cardiognosis, He knows your thoughts and your dreams
Like the Sadducees, your heresy is leaking out the seams

What, what, who? Henotheistic views
Are romanticized, sanitized, still ain’t true
But from the parthenogenesis to the Parousia
We got imputed righteousness until the day we meet up
Since the ascension we got metaphysical nominalists
Refer to Postulates for obedientialis
Hidden like the pseudepigrapha in the
Deuterocanonical pack – the apost-hata’s back!

I’m coming home…for less than 24 hours.

I’ll be leaving Florida in a few hours, and as usual, I’ve gotten to see some glimpses of God’s glory. Friday was Bob Webber’s memorial service. This was the memorial service that the family chose to attend. It was good to see Joanne again, to see that love she has for Bob. You know how they say some couples were “made for each other”? It’s that way with Bob and Joanne. When Jim Hart asked her if she’d rather be called Bob’s wife or widow, she replied, “Wife.” I was standing right next to her and heard her mutter under her breath, “Forever and ever.”

The mother of one of my classmates passed away suddenly on Monday. My classmate handled it with great faith. His father was diagnosed with terminal cancer on the last day of last term and was supposed to be in heavenly glory by this term, so this has been a bit backwards for the family. She had gone into the hospital on Wednesday and seemed fine on Thursday. She found out that a hole in her esophagus. This, in turn, caused acid to leak into her blood and poison it, causing her organs to shut down. She started taking a turn for the worse on Sunday while we were at the beach. By Monday, they were going to take her off the ventilator by evening, but she didn’t make it that long. It was shocking to me how quickly it all happened. I guess that with her husband dying of cancer, she probably didn’t feel the need to fight for her life. My classmate kept saying, “She always said she didn’t want to live without dad; now she doesn’t have to.”

Another classmate who had missed last semester (due to a viral heart attack) was back again this semester. He told the story of how, through misdiagnosis and wrong treatment, his blood was thinned to the point of leaking out of his stomach. He woke up in a puddle of blood (after having been changing bandages for several days). He thought he was going to die, so he prayed with his father, who is also a pastor (I believe). When he came back into the room five minutes later to take him to the hospital, there was a crusty scab that looked like it had been there for days. Incredible.

On Sunday I hit the beach after worship and stayed in the water a couple hours longer than everyone else. After the beach, I went to a worship service. Brian McLaren was the celebrant, and I had a good chat with him on the glories of teaching English (He was an English prof. Before going into the ministry and then public speaking). He reminded me once again why my background is oh so useful for what I hope to do in the future. Of all the well-known pastors and theologians I’ve met over the years, I have to say that McLaren is probably the most approachable. He’s had this “Hey, guys, what’s going on? Can I play?” smile on his face for the last three days.

Hmmm…I’m too distracted to blog anything else.

Filed under: Kyrie, Music, Videos | 1 Comment

Christian music (a note mostly to myself)

As I was on my work this morning, I happened to have some Christian music on. Then, a miracle happened. I heard two songs in a row that I liked. I did some research to find out the names of the songs. The first one was called Held by Natalie Grant made me think of Salem. I found it on myspace, though it sounded better on the radio.

The second song was called The Real Jesus. I couldn’t find the song online to hear it again, but I found the lyrics. I did find the band’s myspace page, and I really liked another song called Remember Me with eucharistic overtones.

Update: I found a corny video someone made that has the music of the song playing to it. You have to go here and scroll down til you see the video that goes with The Real Jesus. At points in the song, the vocal resemblance to Freddie Mercury and the early Queen songs is weird.

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