Creative Christian Culture

I was there the first time a Christian tried to create rap music. It wasn’t pretty; or rather, it was too pretty, too trite and contrived to be real:

My name is Stephen Wiley and I’m rated highly
And I rap to a T (beep, beep)
[I could never figure out what the ‘beep, beep’ was for]
Now just sit down and listen to me as I rap religiously

I’m righteously righteous and justly just
Thankful to the Lord in whom I trust
If you think I’m boasting, ya better relax
Because when I speak God’s Word, I’m speakin’ the facts. Continue reading

Christ and the Arts

Rarely do I watch or read talks written so densely and passionately. This lecture by a Christian violinist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra covers so much ground I don’t know where to even begin. For one thing, she nails what is missing in the Evangelical church’s love with popular culture and contemporary music. It is well worth the 15 minutes, but I warn you, it takes some undivided listening to really hear all the important things Ms. Ostling has to say.

Pray More, Shop Less

Lessons and Carols at King’s College, Cambridge

Friday, November 15/28
First Day of the Nativity Fast
Commencement of Advent in the Orthodox Church
For the rest of the country,
Black Friday

I refuse to add to the growing litany of bloggers who want to end the atrocities of our over-driven consumerist culture. While I mostly agree with their criticisms, I don’t think it works to curse the darkness without lighting a candle. And the candle of prayer that I wish to light on this commencement of Holy Advent is a plug for a very potent service of prayer. Continue reading

The Man Who Sang Me Home

New Movie on the Life of Rich Mullins

New Movie on the Life of Rich Mullins

I first heard his music in a Christian bookstore back in the eighties when the only way to listen to new music was to sample it in the store or hear it in church. Christian Contemporary music (CCM) did not have the advantage of its secular counterpart: playtime on multiple radio stations, so songs and singers were far less known. Oh the hours I spent in my favorite Christian superstore looking for deep theological reflection and profound devotional commitment… mostly to no avail. More often what I heard was pop cultural leftovers, bands that were supposed to be the “Christian equivalent” of bands in the world, but were merely derivative and therefore inferior to what the world produced. I was lost in this sea of spin-off artistry, desperate to find an authentic voice, someone who did not have to imitate the world and sprinkle their lyrics with God-speak to sell records to gullible, culture-starved believers. And that’s when I heard Rich Mullins, who not only inspired me with his authentic witness for Christ, but showed me the way home into apostolic Christianity. Continue reading

A Night at the Opera

IMG_0184June 14- Repose of G.K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton

I always wondered what it would be like. In high school, I had a crazy Latin teacher who actually took all of us guys to Tosca, but the sub-title projector was broken so all that we understood of the story was that some guys were all after the same women and they were really disgusted about it. Tonight, though, my oldest daughter and I got our first taste of  well done opera that we could understand.

Every year the Boston Early Music Festival performs a centerpiece opera that is recently revived from the Baroque period of classical music. This year’s opera Almira features a love triangle involving a newly crowned Queen (Almira) and her many exotic and mysterious suitors. Continue reading