Classic Christian Music: A List of Radio Stations, Websites, Books, and Documentaries

I recently put up a post that has been viewed by more people than I ever thought it would. It is about the state Christian Music, or CCM, or "Jesus Music" is in, specifically how the music of older artists (or "legacy" artists) have gone out of print and that for those artists still touring their concerts are relatively small (though faithfully attended by a few). You can view the article here: The Troubled Future Legacy of Christian Music.


PCR Podcast Ep28: Dialogues With Brandon—What makes a great novel?

In the latest "Dialogue With Brandon," Brandon and I discuss what it takes to make a great novel. We are both attempting to write a novel and so we hammer out what makes for great plot and great characters. Is it OK to use cliches? Should our characters be composites of real people we know? Should we use brand names of different products and stores? On and on we go in pursuit of the Great American Novel. 
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Related Episodes:

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PostHumous Book Review: The Mundane Miracles of The Hiding Place
Infinite Jest: a typical reading experience


The Troubled Future Legacy of Christian Music

Related article: A Classic Christian Music—A list of radio stations, websites, books, and documentaries
This past weekend I had a most amazing concert-going experience in Champaign, Illinois.

I was there seeing two little known aging rock artists. I say little known because the crowd was mostly in their 40's or above, with a few sprinklings of people in their 20's and 30's, as well as a few kids. I also say little known because only around 200-300 people were there, and though the venue was mostly full the two artists who performed have both had sustainable music careers for over 40 years. So...you'd think more than 200-300 people would be there...

And I should also say both of these artists are rock legends who continue to put out music showing they are still at the top of their craft. Well, what was the problem? Why weren't there more people there? The answer is easy: they both are "Christian" artists who put out "Christian" music within the realm of the Christian music industry. The concert I went to featured a doubling billing of Glenn Kaiser playing solo blues and Phil Keaggy playing a rare show with a full band. Most anyone who knows anything about these artists would easily call them "rock legends", most especially Keaggy but I think Kaiser deserves to be up there too. It was the best concert experience I have had in years and it made me a little bit sad.

"Christian"music, you see, has a legacy problem and it manifests itself in two main ways:
1.) there is basically no infrastructure for artists  to go on tour. 
2.) there is basically no infrastructure for artists' music to stay in print or reach a new audience.


Sermon: Take and eat, Jesus Christ, the Living Word

"The Sermon" by R.O. HodgellA sermon about words featuring a work by my favorite artist, which is also about words. 
Note: a number of Churches celebrate "Bible Sunday" every year as part of the Church Calendar. This year that Sunday falls on October 23. Thinking it was "Bible Sunday" this sermon was preached in error on October 16.

I want you to imagine something with me that is both horrifying and glorious.

Imagine not taking Communion anymore. Consider a time when we do not celebrate the Eucharist, that time of our week when the Church is at its most thankful. We partake of and remember the body and the blood of our Savior, his life poured out for us, giving life to the world.


PCR Podcast Ep 27: Dr. Michael Danner—An Anabaptist approach to politics

Dr. Michael Danner is the Executive Minister of the Illinois Mennonite Conference. I invited him on the podcast to discuss a "liberal Christian" political perspective, but soon realized he was instead offering me an Anabaptist Christian perspective. While discussing pacifism, "socialism", abortion, and free market capitalism, Michael lays out how the Church can declare the coming Kingdom in the political realm by following in the way of Jesus.
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A Letter To Christians Who Still Support Donald Trump

To those in Christ who still defend Donald Trump and see him as a viable candidate for president of the United States,

I too am highly suspicious of why the tape of Donald Trump's conversation with Billy Bush was released now, as this article by Ben Carson points out ("I cannot Condone Donald Trump's Comment. But Let's Recognize What Progressives Are Doing Here"). Maybe one day the truth of where the leak came from will come out, but for now how can we help but believe it can all be traced to Clinton's camp or someone who is an ardent supporter of her? As many Americans have said already, this whole election is a mess and America is in a sad and troubled state with the choices before them.

Nonetheless, when people we know and prominent Christian leaders keep defending their vote of Mr. Trump you need to realize it makes us lose respect for you and makes us not take what you say seriously any more. We are done. We are ashamed of our Christian brothers and sisters who do not denounce this man. We are grieved. We do not understand why you hold so dearly to a political ideology. That means nothing to us compared to who we are in Christ. We ask again: Please take away any support for him and refrain from showing any confidence in his ability to lead our nation justly and competently.


Problem: Is The Walking Dead the Kind of Show You Would Watch Again?

A couple of years ago, while watching the season 5 opener of The Walking Dead, I had a strong and unexpected visceral experience. I mean this literally, in that my insides were actually shaking.

For Walking Dead viewers the end of season 4 was a huge buildup to Rick Grimes and his clan of survivors' arrival at Terminus, which was a cataclysmic disaster. The people of Terminus were cannibals and managed to quickly take Rick and all his people captive. Season 5 opens in the frenzied confusion of a flashback of Terminus' tragic beginnings and the darkened battle-planning of Rick's crew from inside their cargo freight prison. Soon though, Rick, Daryl, Glenn, Bob, and a few people we don't know find themselves in a human slaughterhouse knelt above a feeding trough, awaiting their deaths. One by one the victims' throats are slit until they get to Glenn, whereupon his potential death is dangled before us a number of times as outside gunshots are heard and Rick distracts Gareth, the Terminus leader, by threatening to kill him. 

Eventually, due mostly to Carol, they all escape and zombie hoard chaos ensues, but once everything died down I realized I had had an actual physical reaction to watching all of this. My hands and my guts were quivering. I was down there in the trenches with them. I had immersed myself in their trauma and my adrenalin was flowing freely. I was the farthest thing from a detached viewer. I cared deeply about these people and I felt like I had become one of them.

Later on, perhaps weeks later, after a few other experiences similar to this, I came to a realization: I don't think I can watch any of this again. This is not something I want to put myself through more than once.


PCR Podcast Ep 26: Zac Hicks—Author of The Worship Pastor

Episode 26 features an interview with Zac Hicks the author of the newly released book The Worship Pastor. He is Canon for Worship and Liturgy at Cathedral Church of the Advent (Birmingham, AL) and writes regularly at zachicks.com. You can find out more about the book (along with a free excerpt) at: http://www.theworshippastorbook.com/

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Related Post:
The Best New Worship Music (according to PostConsumer Reports

Related Podcast Episodes:
Episode 07: Pastor Luke Edwards on "why churches should stop giving stuff away"
Episode 10: David Leo Schultz Director of Brennan
Episode 11: Thom Blair on the Hebrew English Interlinear O.T. and Logos Bible Software
Episode 17: Douglas Wilson (pastor, educator, one of the founders of the Classical Education movement


Grandpa Rock Review: Paul Simon and Phil Keaggy

This summer I realized my album buying habits really reflect my age. I am only in my mid-30's but I am essentially a Grandpa Rock enthusiast. When given the opportunity to buy new music (which I still buy on CD and then possibly vinyl) I bypassed the most lauded Dad Rock album of the year (Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool) and went straight for the Grandpa Rock Royalty of Paul Simon's latest (and perhaps last) Stranger to Stranger. Added to this, I had been eagerly waiting since the end of last year for Phil Keaggy to release a new album, which got funded on Kickstarter. Those of us who backed the album, which is now called All At Once, got to download it earlier in the summer, but the official release came in September.

These are the albums I was most anticipating: 2 rock legends from the 60's and 70's, one an American icon and possible Greatest Living Songwriter, the other a pillar of the Jesus Music era and one of the world's most renowned guitar players.


On the death of Rich Mullins, 19 years after the fact (The boy becomes a man)

So, I suppose Rich Mullins died 19 years ago today and I suppose I'm still a bit in denial about it. Everyone's posting their tributes, so I thought I'd offer mine too.