20th October 2014

Every so many Sundays someone will stop and ask about a song that was on the set list the week before. “Hey, do you know the name of the song we sang right after communion last week?” I rarely know the answer. I usually push them to Jeff, our band leader, who often responds with, “I’m not sure. I would have to look it up.” 

When I think about the whole the gathering, like the set list, not much of it is committed to memory. Most of it is perishable. Most of the experience never returns. Like the offering or the Eucharist, there is no recoil of those things. They are given away. They are consumed. The songs are poured out, not as a spectacle, but as a means of engagement. We don’t sing to remember, we sing because we remember. And when the teacher teaches, and we’re feverishly scratching notes because we’re afraid we’ll miss something or forget what we’ve heard, it’s important to remember that we probably already forgot what was said last week.

Sometimes the gathering itself is the next step. When we are all standing together and moving through the communal behaviors of singing and prayer and scripture and the Eucharist, we are together with God, and that may be its own end. At times to only to-do from the gathering is to return the next week and do it all over again. 

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15th October 2014

I’m sorry about that. I had this beautiful idea and we got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing: [a] drop of megalomania, touch of generosity, dash of self-promotion and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years mightn’t be heard. There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.

Bono

Full interview here: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bono-apologizes-for-forcing-u2s-songs-of-innocence-on-itunes-users-20141015

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If Decatur had a sound, it would be the noise these girls make when they sing together. That’s what I think of when I think of my old neighborhood. My high school years were spent chasing these two all over town, venue to venue, from the floor of a student center at Emory to the clubs of Little 5 Points, and no less the countless times they filled the Buckhead Roxy.

Amy’s guitar bore the recklessness of her playing style, the wood above the sound hole worn thin, the wounds of emotion over skill. All of it matched by her lyrics, her way with words and images, that southern trait of story-casting. And those were the days when most of their new songs were first heard live, and the first time I heard “Pushing The Needle Too Far,” I remember the silence after it was over, no one quite sure what to do with something so three-dimensional, so painful.

There’s Emily’s brilliance of lyrical imagery, rooted deeply in the traditions of Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. I don’t think there’s a better song written than “Mystery,” the live cut on 1200 Curfews being perhaps the best version. Whereas Amy’s music causes you to stand still, Emily has a way of bringing you along inside of some story. Amy is the prophet, Emily the narrator. 

And the harmonies. They sound like five people when they sing, hiding the lead. It’s hard to tell who’s in front of the song, with all the switching and crossing of tones. “Watershed” seems almost impossible to do live, but again, an example of what happens when these two get together. 

I’m happy they’re still making music, and a new studio album is on the way. And I love these backstage clips, this one on the song “Devotion,” written by Amy. 

Theology of Play

28th September 2014

Joel Mooneyhan said some great things this morning. He picked up week four our series entitled “Theology Of              ,” teaching on the theology of play. As an artist, musician, and someone with a Masters of Divinity, his words were not removed from his personal story, professionally or theologically. Here are some of his lines from this morning’s message: 

No reason is given in the Genesis story for God creating. He carried no responsibility to do so. He just did. 

Are we really older and wiser, or have we lost true wisdom, which is wonder? 

To be a child is to believe the moon is chasing the car. 

There is nothing wise about growing up and losing your sense of wonder. 

He also quoted Nietzsche, saying, “If they want to believe in their god, they’ll have to write better songs, because I can only believe in a god who dances.” 

Main Text: Proverbs 8:22-31 

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21st September 2014

I’ve grown to like this building through the years, though I hated it at first. We live in the low rise section of North Buckhead, nothing more than 8 story buildings in our neighborhood. And this, this towering piece of glass just showed up one day, but not just any day, on a day when no one was buying anything. Around here the recession was marked by counterintuitive construction projects, raising up empty buildings. It was like living on a movie set, and at night it was creepy, just a door man and that one unit at the top with its light on. For years it was like this. So everyday I would shake my head as I walked by this building on the way to work. But then one day the lights started coming on. The lower half, all corporate offices, began filling up. Tevana moved its headquarters into the place. Architecture and design firms moved in. Matt Ryan bought the penthouse. A cafe opened up on the street level. Young professionals are always walking in and out during the days now. I still don’t think I like the look of the building. It has a sort of social deficiency about it, kind of unaware of its quiet older neighbors whose bricks have been in these parts for generations. But in the city you don’t really get to choose your neighbors, and that’s part of the adventure. I’ve grown to like this building through the years, though I hated it at first. We live in the low rise section of North Buckhead, nothing more than 8 story buildings in our neighborhood. And this, this towering piece of glass just showed up one day, but not just any day, on a day when no one was buying anything. Around here the recession was marked by counterintuitive construction projects, raising up empty buildings. It was like living on a movie set, and at night it was creepy, just a door man and that one unit at the top with its light on. For years it was like this. So everyday I would shake my head as I walked by this building on the way to work. But then one day the lights started coming on. The lower half, all corporate offices, began filling up. Tevana moved its headquarters into the place. Architecture and design firms moved in. Matt Ryan bought the penthouse. A cafe opened up on the street level. Young professionals are always walking in and out during the days now. I still don’t think I like the look of the building. It has a sort of social deficiency about it, kind of unaware of its quiet older neighbors whose bricks have been in these parts for generations. But in the city you don’t really get to choose your neighbors, and that’s part of the adventure.

I’ve grown to like this building through the years, though I hated it at first. We live in the low rise section of North Buckhead, nothing more than 8 story buildings in our neighborhood. And this, this towering piece of glass just showed up one day, but not just any day, on a day when no one was buying anything. Around here the recession was marked by counterintuitive construction projects, raising up empty buildings. It was like living on a movie set, and at night it was creepy, just a door man and that one unit at the top with its light on. For years it was like this. So everyday I would shake my head as I walked by this building on the way to work. But then one day the lights started coming on. The lower half, all corporate offices, began filling up. Tevana moved its headquarters into the place. Architecture and design firms moved in. Matt Ryan bought the penthouse. A cafe opened up on the street level. Young professionals are always walking in and out during the days now. I still don’t think I like the look of the building. It has a sort of social deficiency about it, kind of unaware of its quiet older neighbors whose bricks have been in these parts for generations. But in the city you don’t really get to choose your neighbors, and that’s part of the adventure.

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