Should We Teach Our Congregations New Songs?
Music is one of the great gifts from God. I love music and surround myself with it. As I write this I have my headphones in my ears, comforted by the sounds pour out of my iPod. When I was younger, the first thing I did when I got my hands on a new CD was to lock myself in my room, crank up the stereo and pour over the lyrics printed in the CD booklet. When a song I love is playing in the car I’ll be singing along, despite the protests of my passengers. I clearly can’t sing and I can’t play an instrument but I still love music.
Singing together is one of the many things I love about church. Doesn’t matter if it’s old school hymns on the organ or more contemporary stuff with drums and guitar. Love it.
But there’s something about singing in church that’s had me thinking lately. Should we teach our church congregations new songs?
Sermon: Chosen From The Beginning
At St Luke’s, we’re going through a sermon series called “What Has Happened To Me?” based on 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15.
“Chosen From The Beginning” uses Ephesians 1:3-12 as a jumping off point.
Preached at St Luke’s Liverpool on Sunday the 5th of May 2013.
The Impossible (2012)
Men In Black 3 (2012)
Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin
Flashback to 1997. For some of you this will be easier than for others. There was this movie called Men In Black. And it was huge. Will Smith had a hit single with the Men in Black rap song. Every optometrist was advertising Men In Black Ray-Bans. A cartoon series based on the movie. At least one out of three blokes rocking up to a fancy dress party that year wore a black suit and a pair of sunglasses (and yes, I was one of them). The original Men In Black really captured the public attention. And then 2002’s Men In Black II was released.
Cue the sound of chirping crickets.
Yeah, Men In Black II wasn’t exactly the best movie. So it’s not a surprise that it took another ten years to try again. To see if the Men in Black magic could be bottled once more and splattered across the cinema screen. I’m going to say it. I know it will be a controversial statement but I’ll say it anyway. I think Men In Black 3 is not only a great movie, but even better than the first Men in Black film.
Unfriend You by Greyson Chance
Over the last year or so, Greyson Chance has been positioning himself as the younger, cuter, and newer version of Justin Bieber. At 14, he’s a Youtube sensation and has his own album out. Unfriend You is his latest single. It’s your stock standard song about teenage heartbreak clothed in enough modern day lingo that it appears fresh and speaks to a new generation. And while there is nothing remarkable in the lyrics or the film clip, it’s the marketing of Chance and the part he plays in current trends that has me concerned.
Battle: Los Angeles (2011)
Starring Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez
Some movies you see because they have a message you should hear. They use characters and situations to shed some light on the human condition and challenge your perceptions. Other movies you watch because things blow up real good. Battle: Los Angeles is the second kind of movie.
An alien force has begun an assault on planet earth. Key cities around the globe are being bombarded with meteorites, which, once they make contact, reveal they contain hundreds of alien soldiers ready for a fight. We follow a squad of Marines as they are tasked to rescue some stranded civilians in the city of Los Angeles before the Air Force comes and bombs the city back to the stone age. There is doom and gloom while things go boom. And that’s about it really.
The Hard Times of RJ Berger
The Hard Times of RJ Berger focuses on the title character RJ, a scrawny highschool kid at the bottom of the highschool social ladder. He’s picked on by the jocks, in love/lust with the most popular girl at school who is dating his chief tormentor, and his parents seem well-meaning but are weird and out of touch. Pretty typical highschool drama formula right? Oh, I forgot to mention one other thing: he has an incredibly large penis. Yep, the title of the show is a pun. This could have been a really bad taste teen-sex comedy. Surprisingly, the show rises above this and delivers something more – heart.
South West Inter-Church Ministry
Last week I spoke at a SWIM (South West Inter-Church Ministry) event. SWIM is a great organisation who are looking to encourage people to stay (or come) to the south west of Sydney and do Christian ministry. I didn’t record my talk, but I do have a transcript after the jump.
Wicked: The Musical
Is someone born wicked, or is wickedness thrust upon them? Is wickedness a result of your actions? Is it part of your nature? Or is it something you are called purely because you are different? The bad guy in The Wizard of Oz was the Wicked Witch of the West. Why was she called the Wicked Witch? Was she really wicked? Or is there something that we’re not being told? The hit stage musical Wicked takes us back to the beginning to show us that not everything is as it seems in the magical land of Oz.
Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Kung Fu Panda (2008 )
Starring Jack Black
Before we begin, let’s have a look at the check list. Jack Black comedy? Check. Cute animated animals? Check. An inept and unsuitable protagonist who is the “chosen one”? Check. Before you even walk into the cinema, you know what you’re going to get. You know how the plot is going to go and how its going to resolve. Only one question remains – will it be worth watching?
Movie Review: Ghost Rider
Starring Nicholas Cage
Wow. That was a mess. Bad acting, bad dialogue, bad CGI, and a plot that doesn’t make any sense. I knew there was a reason that I’d held off watching this one. So how did this all go so terribly wrong?
The Simpsons: The Father, The Son and The Holy Guest Star
The Father, The Son and The Holy Guest Star
Guest starring Liam Neeson
“You guys have more crazy rules than Blockbuster Video.” Homer Simpson
The Simpsons is one of the few shows on television that reguarly deals with the topic of religion. The Simpson family attends a Protestant Church every Sunday. Krusty the Clown is Jewish. And Apu is a devout Hindu. But what about Roman Catholicism? Is it the same as the Christian faith of Rev. Lovejoy’s Church or is it different?
Alice Cooper: Gimme
It may surprise you that I’m a huge Alice Cooper fan. A fan of a 60 year old rocker wearing black leather and makeup with some Top 40 hits in the 70s and 80s who did a cover version of one of his own songs with British pop band The A-Teens. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like me at all. But strangely enough, I really enjoy his music as well as his presence as a performer. One of these days I hope I have enough money to justify seeing one of his concerts. If he’s still breathing… not that being dead would stop him I guess.
The thing that really gets me going about Alice, the thing that gets me excited, is that he is a Christian.