Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mark Driscoll on "state and national" theological boundaries.

Good Stuff. We really need to learn charity and a celebration of our differences, theologically, in evangelicalism. The problem is when we lose sight of the essentials and water down biblical truth. That's when we've gone too far. But, this good word from Mark is the balance for that.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

American Idol and MJ.

Ok, so it's loathsome to blog about American Idol, . . but I thought after last night's show a few things needed to be said moving forward.

1) We forget, before he went crazy, how many great, great songs Michael Jackson wrote and sang. Even last night. . . PYT, Human Nature (one of the most under-rated songs of the 80's), Black or White, Remember the Time, etc. . .
And, no one even sang "Man in the Mirror" last night, one of the best. It's really sad what happened to MJ, because he's a legend. Incredible music. . . . .

2) Adam Lambert: Ok, I have to be honest, I'm not a fan. Here's why: Everyone seems so "surprised" every time he sings and Paula is shedding tears, Simon is gushing, etc. . The fact is, this guy was in the national touring production of "Wicked" (a broadway play), and has a ton of performing experience. It's like being surprised that Ricky and the band play so well each week (really incredible this year). They're professionals, that's what they're supposed to do. I just don't get the reaction to him.

Vocally: I know it sounds really impressive,. . .but all of the screaming is not really that amazing. He's really just singing in falsetto and adding some dirt to his tone, . . . like if I was going to sing like an operatic soprano right now (go ahead, imagine that) that's all he's doing, with some tone modifications. Notice how he has to stick his tongue out everytime he does that. . .that's how he changes his vocal apparatus to get that tone. It's a trick, it's kind of "fake", almost. On Broadway, they do this alot, I remember "Phantom of the Opera" had alot of "scream" singing in it. I'm not impressed. And, I would like to see him get through one week just singing, no screaming,. . . please, just once.

3) Megan Corkery: This is a sore spot for me as well. This is the worst example of the judges pushing their agenda onto the show that we've ever seen. They want to put out a "quirky" artist at some point, and not just a pop puppet (david archuleta, ruben, clay, etc. . . ). They found a girl who kind of sounds like the "new jazz" movement, (Adele, Corinne Bailey Rae, Norah Jones, etc) and so they keep propping her up.
One problem: she's not that good. She really is just yelling at us all the time, I think. Maybe if, like Paula said, she shows some nuance and different style in the coming weeks, I'll change my opinion. But, I thought she was the worst last night, and I don't think she should've been in the top 13. The judges seem to "want it" too much in her case.

Beyond Megan, I thought everyone sang really well last night. It'll be interesting to see who else gets kicked off. . . . Megan should go first though, unless the judges put her through :).

Danny Gokey is the jam


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Links of the week

I'm suffering from a little "input overload", so instead of writing an enourmous, annoying blog (hmm, hasn't stopped me before). I will send out a few links, showing what I"m thinking about this week.

1. Obama's passing of the stem cell bill: Here are three links that show what a political, fact killing, intelligence insulting law this is. It's not even all on Obama, this has been a red herring for sometime, and it's tragic that we continue to tolerate this fact-lessness from our leaders. With that cheery intro, enjoy!!! :)

here, here, and here

2. A good post about fundraising for adoption. . . especially if you're thinking about adopting! (which I highly recommend, Malachi called me dad the other day. . . .good times)


3. And, a really though-provoking post from a guy who is a Christian that struggles with same-sex desires. I found the end of this article really challenging.


HT's: Justin Taylor

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Take on the new U2.

So, if you didn't know. . . .I"m a huge U2 fan :) .

They are playing every night this week on Letterman to promote their new album, "No Line on the Horizon". Here's a clip of Night 1. here.

My review:
There are really 2 different "genres" or types of U2 albums. There are the albums for the masses (Joshua Tree, Achtung, All that You Can't Leave Behind), and there are the "art" albums (Zooropa, Pop, War, etc).

"No Line on the Horizon" is in the 2nd category. There are no big singles like "With or Without You" or "Walk On". This album is very deep, and has many layers. In fact, I really didn't like it on the first listen.

(incidently, 2005's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" is a hybrid of the two styles, and probably the 3rd greatest U2 album ever)

This one is different than U2 albums of the past, though, in a few key ways. First of all, the music, and musicianship is amazing. These guys are truly masters now, and they've had a bad rap for a while at not being very good at their instruments, their music is simple, etc. . . . Not so anymore, and this record proves it.

The bass playing on this album is especially amazing, and the arrangements/time signature changes/chord patterns are all way outside of the box for U2. It's a shame that my favorite bass player hates U2, and probably won't listen :). . . but that's ok, . . to each his own. I actually think that the musical arrangements will shoot over alot of people's heads. It's not very commercial or "pop".

So, if you're a musician out there and have stayed away because U2 are "sell outs" and "their songs sound the same" etc. . .I suggest you check out this album. It's really amazing musical work.

I feel like the flaw on this record, . . or the reason it isn't very commercial. . . are the lyrics. Bono seems to have done alot of "stream of consciousness" writing on this record, he's even rapping a bit (this is done on a few of the songs, "breathe" is one, it's on the letterman clip).
That's a difference from many U2 albums of the past where the lyrics were perhaps more of a strength than the music.

So, you probably won't be whistling along to the songs or anything, but it's great music, and it's good for mood/emotional/ and even party music. Some of the songs have had really good messages for me and speak to some of things I'm going through right now. Bono has some great ways of saying deep truths. . . . .it just takes him a while to get there on this album :)


Monday, March 2, 2009

Amazing animation of the Hudson River plane landing


Ouch. . . . but really good.

A Sobering Quote on Parenting

“The story of child rearing is almost wholly about imitation. We do good or ill, and the young ones follow in lock step, no matter how much we talk and point elsewhere. They are designed that way.…

This inescapable imitation should be listed as a means of growing in grace. Parents often jest about their children being ‘means of sanctification,’ suggesting that child rearing is often a trial. But the situation is much more serious than a passing trial. Given the way children have to imitate parents (or whoever fills that role), one cannot just coast passively, selfishly, like we often do through tough times. Our tiniest daily responses in front of the kids constantly mold and chip away at their persons. Children are a means of sanctification because they are daily adopting their parents’ characters, virtues and vices and all. This is a blessing when we are faithful, but it’s a frightening mirror when we see our own sins growing in them. With kids around, we can’t just move slowly on our own growth. We have to grow in grace for the sake of the kids. If we don’t, then we can become a curse to them and their children.”

- Doug Wilson, Angels in the Architecture, 121–122

HT: Vitamin Z