Category: Music

Unexpected Theologians

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I was having drinks with my friend Devin a couple weeks ago and he asked me to suggest new music. From time to time some friends reach out to me with recommendations for new music because I absolutely love music. And because I have verifiably the best taste in music.

A lot of times people are curious to know how I hear about all this new music. I wish I could give a more impressive answer like I am on a first name basis with Thom Yorke or Sufjan Stevens (name dropping to show how cool and in the know I am) and they send me demos of their latest songs. Or maybe the staff at Pitchfork (another name drop, but come on, Pitchfork is kind of a parody of pretentiousness is it not?) want to run a few new albums by me for confirmation of their relevance.

The truth is far less inspiring. I just pay attention. Continue reading

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Singing Hallelujah With The Fear In Your Heart

Few performances I’ve ever seen have been as palpably passionate as Arcade Fire’s performance of Intervention on Saturday Night Live in 2007.

You can visibly see the intensity on Win Butler’s face. Neon Bible is an album swirling with references to religion, corruption, family, darkness, and light. Who among us doesn’t brim with emotion as we wrestle with these ideas?

Stick around until the end to see Win smash the guitar and in a visceral way release the emotions we keep inside of us all the time.

May we all ‘smash our guitars.’

Learning How to Be Open with American Football

A couple weeks ago with students at the American Church in Paris we looked at the endless ways that God speaks to us through culture, from music to film to the visual arts.

One thing culture does it help us to see the pulse of society. The things that people are wrestling with. I’m not talking about your contemporary christian music (some of it is okay, but most of it is merely mimicking the wider culture, which is at best not very creative, at worst capitalistic) but about the vulnerable words of people hurting, hoping, anxious, and loving.  Continue reading

Mixtape Vol. 2

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I’m not sure what this Mixtape series will actually be. I struggled thinking of themes or just songs that felt right. If you remember what I wrote for the last Mixtape, I was (wrongly) convinced that Spring had arrived. It hasn’t. These songs to me are some sort of in between of resigning to the cold and hoping for warmer temperatures. Either way there’s always room to see the beauty in the world no matter the weather.

One track to highlight is ‘Sonsick’ by San Fermin. It’s been particularly heavy in my rotation and in my heart. You can listen to it and stare at this picture of rural central France by train.

Enjoy.

Common Sentiments – Typhoon

Typhoon has been the soundtrack to my days lately. Orchestral, energetic, emotive. This band of 11 permanent band member make inspiring, beautiful, and incredibly thoughtful music. I plan to write more about the theology behind the lyrics of their latest album, “White Lighter.” For now, listen to a live performance of one of my favorite tracks, Common Sentiments.

“When am I gonna feel better?
I said when am I gonna feel better?
I said when am I gonna feel better?
I have been patient for a long time now.

I’ve been the patient for a long time now
I’ve been the patient for a long time now
I’ve been the patient for a long time now
And I will never be a younger man now.

I will be good though my body be broken. 

I will be good, may I want for nothing at all.

Chills. There is some spiritual depth to these words.

Prehistoric – Now, Now

Okay, so Paris hasn’t decided if it’s ready for Spring or wants to squeeze every bit out of Winter it can. It’s a little chilly and a little gloomy, but no worries, this song by Now, Now is hitting the spot. A lot of grit and an incredible live mix is giving me the motivation to make it through this Monday.

Mixtape Vol. 1

13047984_10100975523380640_2280334291436053600_oSpring has arrived in Paris and it’s a reminder just how stunning this city is. When the evening sun hits the Pont Alexandre III (see above) it’s a thing of beauty. I’ve put together a playlist that has been the backdrop as the days get longer and the weather gets warmer. And I hope you enjoy it as much as I have been.

Cheers.