Category: Music

Straight to the Soul

In keeping with my current theme of saying little and listening a lot, I will say this: This is what I’m listening to.

Some in my beloved Church of Christ tradition will ask this question: Yeah, but can you understand what they’re saying?

Answer: No, not really (save for a phrase or two now and then). But it doesn’t really matter. You see, there is more to God than print on a page, and there are some things that bypass the left brain and head straight to the soul.

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Thank God for Incarnation–and iPods

People cross this world
Over and then back again
Never even one time lift their eyes
Or think of what they say

But I hear it in your voice, love
Like someone sweetly willing
The hope of all these years,
the prayer of a time
that we don’t even know

But it’s a hard road that we follow
The saddest cities, and the darkest hollows

But I hear it in your voice, love
The strongest sound
I’ve ever heard
Like water from a well
so deep in the ground
I’ll never thirst again

–“Hollow” from Hem’s “Eveningland”

And if God doesn’t get your attention with a good joke, them maybe some music will do the trick.… Read the rest

The Measures of a Good Life

Barbara died a few days ago. She lived two doors down and had been sick for about a year. It wasn’t Alzheimer’s, but something similar, another heartless, wasting disease that took her away, bit by bit, to the horror and disappointment of her husband and family who could do little but simply love her and try to ease her passage to the other side. It was not an easy death.

I did not know her well, beyond an occasional casual conversation on the sidewalk or a friendly wave as she made her way out to retrieve her morning paper while I stumbled by at the conclusion of one of my morning runs.… Read the rest

A Rush of Blood to the Head

I’m not talking about the Coldplay album–although it’s a good one. I’m talking about the rush of blood to the head that occurs anytime you take a good lick to your noggin’. For Garrison Keillor, a close encounter with a low-lying beam elicits the memory of his old battle-hardened, ex-Marine journalism professor at the University of Minnesota, Mr. Robert Lindsay. For me, it’s the memory of the understated brutality of my old, formaldehyde-soaked anatomy professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Steven Zehren.

For the most part, I sailed through an academically challenging public high school and Harding University without too much difficulty.… Read the rest

Those Sunburn Blues

sun.jpgWith temperatures in the triple digits this week, I had a flashback to a scene from a few years ago when our family sought relief from those sunburn blues in the form of a jazz concert at Big Spring Park in Huntsville. Afterwards, the muse struck, and the result was a wee little essay (or is it a beatnik poem?) which was published in The Huntsville Times about a week later:

A simmering sun burns off the last of the July haze and slips beneath the rim of the Von Braun Center.

Over by the Big Spring, the Grissom High School Jazz Band tunes up for its upcoming European tour in front of a hometown crowd.

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Shall We Dance? Part III

From the oldest of times, people danced for a number of reasons. They danced in prayer or so their crops would be plentiful… They danced to stay physically fit and to show their community spirit. And they danced to celebrate, and that is the dancing we are talking about. Aren’t we told in Psalms 149, ‘Praise ye the Lord, sing unto the Lord a new song, Let them praise his name in dance.’ It was king David that we read about in Samuel, and what did he do? He ‘danced before the Lord with all of his might, leaping and dancing’… Ecclesiastes assures us that ‘there is a time for every purpose under heaven.’
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Shall We Dance? Part II

Students are not allowed to social dance or go to dance clubs, bars or other inappropriate places of entertainment.

Harding University Student Handbook, page 11

Another crowd of souls is led in their wantonness to abandon themselves to clumsy motions, to dance and sing, and form rings of dancers. Finally, raising their haunches and hips, they float along with a tremulous motion of the loins.

Arnobius c. 305 CE

Social dance–a major category or classification of danceforms or dance styles, where sociability and socializing are the primary focuses of the dancing.


Since the early days of the church, Christians, such as Arnobius, have struggled to make peace with the reality that they must live their lives in material bodies, complete with urges, instincts and natural cycles and rhythms.… Read the rest

Shall We Dance? Part I

dancing.jpgA short survey early on this frosty morning:

If you grew up in the Church of Christ, or some other conservative evangelical denomination, were you allowed to dance?

If not, did you dance anyway?

And lastly, if you have children of dancing age, do you allow them to get out on the floor and shake their little boo-tays?

I’m just asking. And yeah, you can bet I’m heading somewhere with this.

Shall we dance? In Part II, we shall see that some Church of Christ kids already have.… Read the rest

O Say, Can You Sing?*

american-flag-thumb.gifThanks to Jenny V for sending me this video of the crowd at Rhodes Memorial Field House singing the Star Spangled Banner (A Cappella, of course) prior to the Harding v. Henderson State game this past Saturday.

If anyone knows of another athletic venue in the country where the entire crowd sings the U.S. National Anthem in four-part harmony, please let me know.

O say, can you sing? If you’re a member of the Church of Christ, you bet your Bible Belt bottom you can.

*This post is dedicated to those very special Harding alumni who break into hives and apoplectic fits at the site of the Stars and Stripes and/or the singing of the National Anthem and recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance anywhere on, or near, the grounds of the Harding Campus.… Read the rest

Lux Aurumque

nativity-church.jpgThere’s nothing like soaring choral music to get one’s Advent Season off to a good start.

Yesterday, I put Alabama’s coaching woes far behind me and dove headlong into Advent by attending a concert of the University of Alabama at Huntsville Chorus and the Huntsville Youth Chorus at the historic Episcopal Church of the Nativity in downtown (kudos to RocketCityPoet for the stunning view of Nativity above).

Small in numbers but large in both volume and spirit, both choruses hit several high notes, including such classics as Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium and Vilvadi’s Magnificat in G Minor. Throw in some rousing audience participation on favorites like O Come, All Ye Faithful and Hark!Read the rest

A Music Manifesto

apple_ipod-v30g_0.jpgI wish I had thought of this. But I’m glad that my friend Mike the PharmD (that stands for “Pharmacy Dude”) did.

The ubiquitous iPod is a necessary accessory for today’s tech-savvy, music-loving teenagers. Our boys each have one. In all three cases they worked and saved and payed for part of theirs with a little help from Eyegal and me. They have enjoyed them greatly, but there have been a few “issues” which have needed to be addressed from time to time.

Mike the PharmD, possessing a more sound and sober mind than I, anticipated many of these “issues” prior to purchase.… Read the rest

A World Cup Reprise

zinedine-zidane-real-madrid2.jpgIt’s been over a month now, but I just can’t let it go.

Forget the head butt. These are the images which will endure. (Hat tip: Seattle Soccer Mom)

If a mix of Coldplay and Zidane aren’t to your taste, then try a helping of U2’s Bono and a mesmerizing montage of World Cup 2006 highlights.

Ok, I know some of you hate it when I write about soccer. Just do me a favor: watch the videos and then take the same pulsating passion, the vim and verve, the emmaculate elan, the deftness of foot, and the all-encompassing, all-seeing vision and apply them to whatever work God sets before you this day.… Read the rest