Monday, October 27, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
But somewhere in all the loud guitars, lights and sold out arenas there runs a danger of something getting lost. With all the T-shirts and shameless plugs for the upcoming album Christian music begins to look a lot like non-Christian music which in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. But I've been to many shows where the artists didn't speak much or talk about what their relationship to God meant to them. At these shows, the band came out, sang and played for 2 hours, and we all went back to buy shirts and CDs on the way out. But last Saturday, Oct. 11, I experienced a breath of fresh air amidst all the tyranny of contemporary Christian music. I went to Christ United Methodist Church in College Station, TX to see Building 429 with opening acts After Edmund and Addison Road. The experience was as spiritually enlightening as it was pleasing to the ears.
We paid a modest price of $10 for our tickets and were in a church that seated about 1500 that was maybe 2/3 full. So there was plenty of room to get up by the stage and get very close to the performers. After Edmund had done a show the previous spring here in Palestine and our kids were so crazy about them...they are a great band and put on a great show. But when the guys in the band realized that our kids had been at the Palestine, their memories were jogged and they remembered them. It was so nice to see this band who was touring across the country to remember a bunch of jr. high kids from Palestine. Jason Roy, the lead singer of Building 429 served as emcee for the whole show. Many times the headliners stay tucked away until the big finale, but he wanted us to experience God's love and worship him at that concert. So the concert was about Christ, not about them. They also did a few worship songs that were not orignally written or performed by them to lead the congregation in worship. I wasn't really surprised, but yet, I wasn't expecting it either. I mean nobody is going to be able to go to the back table and find the Building 429 CD with the Matt Redman song on it--it doesn't exist. But their heart was for worship and community and I felt that superceded any agenda for record sales.
I realize that record sales are a small portion of what funds these cross-country behemoths as they go from town to town with huge trucks filled with lights and sound equipment and in order for them to do what God has called them to do, they have to make money. However, it's good to know that amidst all the bright lights, record sales, touring, merchandise, and everything else that bands are still doing the Lord's work by lifting people's spirits and leading them to the throne of God.
(Below, my youth group kids with members of After Edmund)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I was so excited at the beginning of the season--every time I turned on SportsCenter, my Dallas Cowboys were getting tons of air-time discussing how they were the most talented team in football. and favorites for the Super Bowl. I've been a Cowboys fan as long as I can remember--my Mom even tells a story about us driving past a Holiday Inn (back when they had a big white star on their sign) and I shouted from the back seat in my best baby talk "Dadda Cabboy". From the days of Staubach, Dorsett, and Coach Landry, up through the Danny White era, I watched it all. It was a tough pill to swallow when Jerry Jones bought the franchise, but when the triplets (Aikman, Emmitt, and Irvin) and their supporting cast started making a run for the championship I quickly came around. But the events of the last week have been disturbing. Our all-pro quarterback has a broken pinky along with our punter who has a broken foot. Our #2 running back is out with a torn hamstring and many of the players are just "banged up". But the one inactive player that tops the list is not due to an injury. Yes, the gamble that team management took in acquiring Adam "Pac-Man" Jones under the condition that he would behave himself did not pay off in a positive way. He had some drama at a hotel in Dallas two weeks ago and is now in an indefinite suspension for a minimum of 4 weeks. I felt Pac-Man should have been suspended by the team regardless of what the NFL decided to do, but it seemed that to the management that winning was more important than discipline. In other words, it was like the Cowboys were saying, "We don't care how you act off the field as long as you put up big numbers ON the field." Add to all this the constant ego issues with Terrell Owens who never seems happy with the amount of passes thrown his way. As I thought about the team's situation, some thoughts came to mind as well as some scriptures.
If we are in Christ, we are new creations, right? Paul says in Romans that we are to be "more than conquerers." But I think many times we are a lot like the Dallas Cowboys--a team that has a ton of talent, but whose egos and injuries get in the way. They can't seem to be successful right now because of all the drama they experience off the field. Paul says this is the human condition in Romans 7, beginning in verse 7. He says "what I want to do is what I do not do and what I do not want to do are the very things I do." Our lives are bogged down by sin. Even though we are new in Christ, we still deal with our sinful nature. How would our lives and ministries look if we put all the personal drama aside and lived as new creations...as conquerors? For seasons it seems we do that, but a lot of times we spend our time and energy chasing futile goals--either in ministry or in our personal lives. We are trying to get to another rung on the "ladder" or trying to make enough money to afford the payment on another car. If we would learn to run the race God calls us to run, we will live like champions, not like banged up "coulda beens".
Monday, October 13, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Fast forward 2 days to Sunday School this past week. The lesson was centered around the story of David and Jonathan. (short Bible story paraphrase: Jonathan's dad, Saul, was the king and was jealous of David and had been trying to kill him. Jonathan made an oath to God that he would be loyal to David no matter what.) We studied about how some friends bring us up while others bring us down. What I began to realize in that study was that for some students (and adults) Christianity is just another thing they have in common with their friends (they like the same movies, video games, sports, sports teams, etc.) Then their are others for whom faith isn't just something that they have in common with their friends--faith is the foundation of that friendship!
Sunday night, we were doing a small group guys study called "Becoming a Young Man of God". One of the questions posed was, "What do you think it means to be a real man?" Many people would say that 2 guys dressed in camoflauge and toting bows and arrows in the woods and talking about their love for the Dallas Cowboys and all things football would be very manly. But I think that true manliness is when men can have a friendship that is built on their faith in God through Jesus Christ. "Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, 'The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.'" (I Sam. 20:42) Pretty manly, huh?
Thursday, October 2, 2008
A drummer doesn't have a commanding presence over the rest of the band. Unless the band members are intent on watching you for cues it's difficult to have that nonverbal communication you have when standing up and playing guitar. With a guitar you can move around, bob your head, and even turn and show them your fingers on the fretboard. From a drumset, you are limited to really only being able to control the tempo and texture of the song.
It is difficult to interact with the audience/congregation from behind a drumset. In worship circles, we talk about the invisible wall between the stage and the audience. As a worship leader, that wall really gets bigger when the "leader" is at the back and tied to a chair.
Having a band leader on drums puts more pressure on the singers because there is no one standing up beside them singing with them. Although you may be singing from the drumset, they still feel isolated from you and can make younger singers more nervous.
Leading singing and playing drums can be challenging in itself. This may just depend on the person doing it, but certain instruments, like rhythm guitar, really lend themselves to accompanying singers. I find it easier, in fact, to sing from behind my guitar than without it (if it's a song I know). Drumming and singing don't always blend, especially if the drum rhythms are not right in sync with the vocal lines.
As I said earlier, I'm considereing getting a drum machine for our worship band and going back to guitar. What have your experiences been with drum machines? Is it a good thing, or is it too "canned" where the kids don't really connect? Also, would I be better served having another student learn to play djembe or cajon? My guitar player doesn't have an acoustic, so I don't think that would blend very well. What do you think?
- ► 2010 (82)
- ► 2009 (33)