September 23, 2018

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 […]

Song for Ordinary Time (14): Order My Life

This is a simple worship chorus I wrote years and years ago, linked with two verses from a favorite hymn. Together, they form a prayer that God will bring order to our inner worlds and cause us to cling to him. The recording is by no means professional, but I hope it will not detract […]

God’s Mercy and Our Lack Thereof (Trinity 13)

In Bach’s day, the readings for the thirteenth Sunday after Trinity included Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. The cantata he wrote for that day in his third cycle of cantatas (Aug, 1725), uses a powerful text on the Gospel written by Salomo Franck. It powerfully contrasts God’s mercy and our lack thereof in caring […]

Beautiful Music at Ground Zero

By Chaplain Mike At historic Trinity Church in Manhattan, daily prayers for peace have been offered since the days following 9/11. This week, to mark the tenth anniversary, they will turn to the music of J.S. Bach to provide comfort for those commemorating the sad events of that day. The New York Times story reporting […]

What We Could Have Heard on Sunday

By Chaplain Mike Instead of worship songs like the one we talked about this morning, how appropriate would the following Bach cantata have been in worship last Sunday, as Hurricane Irene was cutting her path of devastation up the east coast of the U.S.? As we remembered our brothers and sisters in the world’s troubled […]

Someone Has to Put a Foot Down

By Chaplain Mike I haven’t really offended anyone for awhile, but I’m pretty sure that streak stops with this one. Sorry, but somebody must speak up and draw a line somewhere when it comes to what some call “worship” music. Today, I’m writing about one song. Churches everywhere sing it these days. Many, many well-known […]

A Musical Primer on the Ancient-Future Path

By Chaplain Mike If I were to design a course to teach about spiritual formation from an ancient-future perspective, my soundtrack would be the new album by John Michael Talbot, called, Worship and Bow Down. Remarkably, this is Talbot’s 53rd (!) record, but it is different than most of his previous releases. In light of […]

Augustine’s Inner Conflict about Music

By Chaplain Mike Music has always been a matter of contention in the church. We’ve been talking about that with regard to current “worship wars” and “revolutions” in church music. That is NOT what this post is about. No, I want us to think about another conflict with regard to music in the church, one […]

Worship Music: Today’s Catholic Principles

By Chaplain Mike Since the Second Vatican Council (1965-present), the Roman Catholic Church has experienced a great deal of change and development with regard to liturgical practice. Along with these changes, the Church has thought and written much about her worship, including the role of music in it. The liturgy was one of the first […]

Worship Music: A Further Discussion

By Chaplain Mike For three Saturdays now, we have posted Michael Spencer’s series on “Worship, CCM, and the Worship Music Revolution.” A foundation has been laid for further discussion. The American evangelical church has come a long way since 2002, when Michael’s articles first appeared. It is my opinion that the “revolution” is mostly over. […]