Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Larry Norman goes Home

Larry Norman(1947-2008)

Larry Norman is one of the fathers of the Christian music industry. In particular he was one of the first rock artists in Christian music. He was playing rock music when churches still though it was of the devil. It's because of people like Larry and many others that I have a job today. His pioneering work opened the doors for countless bands that populate the industry today. I met Larry once about 10 years ago. He was a nice guy although quite eccentric. I didn't really know who he was at the time but have since learned about what he did for the Christian music industry. Larry went home to be with his heavenly father on Sunday after a long battle with heart disease. Larry will be missed but his impact will forever remain.

Larry knew he din't have much time left so he left a farewell message on his website:

Goodbye, farewell, we'll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will stay with God
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Once upon the Oscars

The Oscars were on last night and I read today that they were the least watched in the 80 year history. I guess I was one of the few that did see it which is funny because I really had no reason to watch. I have not seen any of the films that were nominated so I really didn't care who won. I also have a bit of an issue with awards shows in general. How is it that something which is subjective, as art is, be objectively judged and awarded? It seems silly to me. I understand honoring and apreciating art that is well liked but when it comes down to it aren't these awards shows just more publicity? I think the force behind these awards shows is simple, it's money. The people who are nominated get hired more and sell more. The films or cd's make more money which is why it is so sought after. I understand that there is a history there and it's like being inducted into a club of sorts if you win but do we really need twenty different awards shows for the film and music industry? I also understand that these shows can be entertaining. I used to love watching the Oscars and would get all into it. I think maybe when it started it was more about honoring excellence in your craft but now it is a popularity contest driven by money. All that being said, there was one bright moment from this year. The little guy showed up out of nowhere and won a big prize.

A film called Once, which I have not seen yet but have heard about from Glenn and Jeremy, won the award for best originial song. This film was made 2 years ago on a super small budget of $100,000 and took 3 weeks to make. The film is about a guy and a girl who are both struggling musicians. They meet and try to help each other write songs for a demo so they can get a record deal and in the process fall in love. The songs in the film performed by them are very beautiful. The story is a bit about how these people stay true to their art and their dreams. It was nice to see a small budget "art" film be honored at the Oscars. Here is a clip of their performance at the show. I'm assuming from the ratings that not to many have seen it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The best are back

I'm excited! We have been off the road for awhile now and have another month at home with not much to do. So, there hasn't been a lot lately to get excited about but today i found something. Ok, I'm pinning all my hopes and dreams on this but it is something fun to look forward to. I just found out that two of my favorite bands will both be releasing new albums this year. U2, who is my favorite band, just released a 3D movie at the IMAX which I had the pleasure of experiencing not too long ago. That made me remember why I loved their stuff so much and why I loved their live show which I have seen twice. The problem is U2 only tours when they have a new album and there is usually quite a bit of time in between. However, I am pleasantly surprised that they will be releasing their newest masterpiece sometime in October of this year. I am of course excited to hear the new stuff but even more excited about the possibility of seeing them live again.

As if U2's new album wasn't enough, Coldplay is also set to release their latest in June. In many ways I see Coldplay as a younger version of U2.
They also have a great live show that I was able to experience and great records that I love. Coldplays new album will be called Prospekt. An interesting side note is that the uber talented and longtime U2 producer/ collaborator will be producing on both of these albums. Daniel Lanois will also be working on the U2 album, teaming up with Eno again to form an unstoppable force in music producing. I look forward to catching Coldplay live after this new album as well.

Ok, I guess it would only be fair and appropriate to give a shameless plug for the forthcoming Downhere album as well. I guess it will be competing with U2 but Downhere's has a month head start with a September release, hopefully. I haven't heard all the songs yet but the ones I have are great as usual and this new project will be another must have. Downhere is pretty good live too. I've heard they are on of the best sounding bands live, huh.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

CH Spurgeon

One guy who I’ve always heard a lot about in theological discussion s but never really knew much about was Charles Spurgeon. I’ve never read any of Spurgeon’s writings but I thought I should at least do a little research and learn a bit about him, so as to be informed. Since information is so readily available these days on the old interweb I really have no excuse to not know at least a little bit about Spurgeon.

Spurgeon was 15 when he came to be a believer. He had a bit of a Damascus experience like the apostle Paul did. He was on his way to meet someone when a bad snowstorm hit. He went in to a Methodist church to get out of the cold, presumably, and that is where his heart was converted. Only 4 short years later, at the age of 19, Spurgeon was given his first pastorate in London at the famed New Park Street Chapel. It didn’t take long to see that preaching was Spurgeon’s gifting. His sermons were printed and published each week and his readership as well as his congregation quickly grew. Spurgeon wasn’t preaching anything new he just did it with passion and with an authority that he took from the Scriptures. It wasn’t long before the congregation outgrew their building and had to relocate. The congregation had grown so big in fact that the only place that would hold them was surrey music hall. Spurgeon was regularly preaching to 10,000 people every Sunday. The astounding thing about that to me is the fact that this was before sound amplification was invented. That means that Spurgeon was preaching to 10,000 people without a microphone and sound system. I’m assuming he had a pretty big voice and learned how to project it well. There were even a couple times in which he preached to over 20,000 people with no amplification. As a sound engineer and a person with ears that is amazing to me.

Spurgeon had an amazing preaching and teaching career. In his lifetime he preached over thirty six hundred sermons and published 49 volumes worth of commentaries and other writings. Spurgeon is highly regarded in the reformed theological world and many denominations as well. His churched is considered one of the first “mega churches”. However, his church in no way resembled many of the “mega churches” of today. People were not drawn to Spurgeon’s church because of a seeker sensitive watered down gospel. They came because Spurgeon preached the truth with authority and passion because he preached from the ultimate authority, which is God as revealed in his Word. Spurgeon didn’t succumb to the humanism of his day but rather held fast to the truth.

I think Spurgeon is a great example for today. We can still have a huge impact on culture without sacrificing the truth or diluting it to please people. Our culture, and sadly much of our church, has become so completely man centered. Everyone is so concerned about what people will think that they completely ignore what God thinks or says. We need more Spurgeon’s and others like him. We need people with integrity who will stand up for truth and fight for it. Ultimately we know God is sovereign and in control. He is raising up servants every day to glorify Himself. God used a simple snowstorm to bring Spurgeon to Him and through Spurgeon His kingdom was greatly multiplied. The fight for truth is long and hard but God assures us a victory. Spurgeon understood that and I hope I can fully hold to that too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jake Shimabukuro rocks the ukelele

I saw this guy on Conan last night. I have always liked the song but for some reason I was really moved by his perfomance of it on the ukelele. It was simple but profound somehow. Conan was also impressed. He came over afterwards and told him that it was probably the best thing he ever had on the show as far as music and he was very sincere. So maybe it will move you too or at least you will enjoy i hope.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Colbert teaches Sunday School

I was flipping through the channels last week when I was fortunate enough to land on the Colbert report. I don't think I've ever actually watched more than a couple minutes of this show before but i just happened to watch it at what may have been one of his best moments. After watching this segment I had to do some research on Mr. Colbert because I was so intrigued by what he said. It turns out that Stephen Colbert actually is a Sunday School teacher and has been for a while. He is a devout catholic and also quite a learned scholar of sorts. He is the youngest of 11 children in an Irish Catholic family. His father and 2 of his brothers were killed in a plane crash when he was younger. Colbert got his start by working as Steve Carels under study in the Groundlings improv group in Chicago where he also met Amy Sedaris. He had his big break when John Stewart took over the daily show and gave him a regular spot on the show. That in turn led to the spinoff which is now The Colbert Report.

It's very interesting to me how people like Colbert negotiate their faith in a faithless industry. His character that he plays on The Colbert Report usually would just make jokes and act stupid in response to someone like Zimbardo. I think Zimbardo just pushed his button too far and he couldn't let him slide on his absurd statements. I thought He responded briliantly and the end of the interview was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time on TV. So, I think I'm gonna keep a closer I on Mr. Colbert now and enjoy his show a little more often maybe.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Over that Hill

Time is ticking. The big 30 is just around the corner. Am I ready? Am I where I thought I would be in life? The answer is probably no on both counts but does that really matter? Honestly, I haven't even given it much thought until now. I don't understand why people get so depressed or anxious about 30. I think we put these cultural mile markers in life that have certain connotations and for some reason turning 30 has a bad one for most people. I guess it is suposed to mean the end of our youth or the end of dreams for some. In reality though 30 is just the same thing as 29 or 25 or 15 except we are supposed to be a little bit wiser with more life experience under our belt. I'd rather look at this "milestone" a bit more positively. This is the begining of maturity right ha. I still feel young but I also feel like I know way more than I did 10 years ago. What I know now is this, there is so much I don't know. The more I learn in life and understand things or experience things, the more I realize how much I don't understand and how much there is in life to know and experience. I'm looking forward to my thities and what God has for me. I get to watch my daughter grow and I get to love her and my wife evry day. I can't ask for much more than that and yet I still get so much more. So i say, 30, bring it on. I look forward to it and I'll thank God he's brought me this far.