October 18, 2017

Holy Week: Music of the Cross on Good Friday

I have the privilege of serving in a fine congregation in Indianapolis this spring as part of my ordination process. This church is filled with gifted musicians and the entire congregation has bought into the ethos of praising God through excellent music. For Good Friday, I will be joining the choir to sing “Die Sieben […]

Open Mic: Losing Our Religion (2)

Yesterday, we began a few days of discussing the recent stories on NPR’s Morning Edition in the series, “Losing Our Religion.” Our first conversation was about the overall trend of a growing disconnect between younger people and religion in the U.S. More and more of them are identifying themselves as “Nones” — when asked to state […]

Open Mic: Losing Our Religion (1)

NPR’s Morning Edition did a series last week called “Losing Our Religion.” I encourage you to click the link and listen to the six pieces. The first is an overview of the phenomenon portrayed in the chart above: the growth of the “nones” — the religiously unaffiliated. This trend has been observed especially among younger people. Two […]

Ten Songs that Moved Me in 2012

I did not do a “Best Albums” list for 2012 this year. 2012 was not a banner year for me with regard to listening to music, for several reasons: Limited funds, Limited time to explore and listen to new music, See point #1. In addition, there was only one record I was eagerly looking forward […]

Return to Sister Winter

Tinsel and Lights by Tracey Thorn Merge Records (2012) You loved it as a kid And now you need it more than you ever did It’s because of the dark You see the beauty in the spark That’s why, that’s why The carols make you cry Joy, joy… Sentimentalism, in my view, is the enemy […]

Review: Hymns for the Christian Life

Hymns for the Christian Life by Keith and Kristyn Getty * * * Respected modern singer/songwriters and hymn composers Keith and Kristyn Getty have released another fine album of serious contemporary music in their characteristic Celtic style (along with some bluegrass tunes) for the church. It’s called “Hymns for the Christian Life,” and it deals […]

In Music, 50 Years Ago

Fifty years ago yesterday, a door to the future was opened. The Beatles’ song, “Love Me Do,” which became their first #1 single, was released. It ain’t church music, but no western popular music has been the same since the Beatles.  

To Make God Smile

Try to stay with me here. The Beatles (remember them?) released Rubber Soul in time for Christmas, 1965. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys said this was the best album he had ever heard and set about to create his own masterpiece. In May of 1966, Wilson (who turned 70 yesterday) and the Boys released Pet […]

Recommended Summer Listening

The sun is staying up later, the temperatures are getting warmer, and the Orioles (the Orioles? Yes, the Baltimore Orioles!) have the best record in baseball. In must be the cusp of summer. The kiddies will be out of school soon, which means most all of us will be getting on the road and driving […]

Exuberant Easter!

Easter Oratorio, BWV 249 J.S. Bach The soundtrack in my mind during the Easter season is all Bach, timpani and trumpets, and bright celebration. These days I have been listening to a shimmering 2011 recording of the JS Bach Easter and Ascension Oratorios by the Retrospect Ensemble. Easter Oratorio is one of five works by […]