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EPISODE 74: Please Come to Boston

If Dave Loggins hadn’t written and recorded that song in 1974, my youth ministry would have failed the first day. But he did, and it didn’t. This podcast is the story of why.

But wait!: there’s more.

I took a little break from the recording studio recently, in order to take a trip to Boston — to do what I thought the song was telling me to do. It was an interesting trip, with some vivid highlights, like the P. S.-K. and the PCFR and the BABC.

The real object of the trip, however?: To learn more about the unity of God. Aldous Huxley helped me a little, Harry “Hotspur” helped me, Orson Welles helped me, some very old friends helped me, Amtrak helped me, even Terence Rattigan reached out from bottom of the ‘Pru’ to help me.

Please listen and see.

 

EPISODE 75: KISS FM

This podcast is not about Gene Simmons and Friends. And it’s really not about a radio station. It is about communication.

I noticed recently that fiction was having a bigger impact on me than exposition. Specifically, Aldous Huxley’s 1944 novel Time Must Have a Stop made a stronger impression on me than the compilation of quotes on religion he edited at the same period of his thought.

I’d also noticed that Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, which is almost exactly contemporaneous with Time Must Have a Stop, did more for me than recourse to the ancient religious texts with which “Edge” is actually dealing.

The story took over, and moved one — I’m trying to sound like Huxley! The exposition of ideas had less impact.

The same could be said of By Love Possessed (1957). As soon as a critic declares it a novel of Lucretian (Democritan) “resignation”, you just want to throw the thing away. But when you read it as an unveiling of Reality in Real Life, By Love Possessed has a lot to tell its readers.

As a preacher, this came home to me 1000 times ten hundred. I wanted my hearers to be transformed by my affirmations about Mercy and my assertions concerning Love. What they kept telling me they liked — i.e., what really seemed to helped them — was… the illustrations. They would almost always come back to the illustrations, from family life, personal despair, sufferings of credible character. I had wanted to be a teacher of deathless Revelation. Yet it was the illustration that got them in touch. Damn!

Turn on your radio (Van Morrison) then, and tune it to KISS FM.

 

EPISODE 76: Lounge Crooner Classics

It’s a special genre and it’s filled with a potential cure for your anger problem. If you have one. (You probably don’t.)

The Absurd is a sub-set of humor that needs more attention. A cool parishioner on James Island, South Carolina once observed — it was a long time ago — that “The House on Haunted Hill”, with Vincent Price, was probably the greatest movie ever made. I feel sure that woman had fewer problems as a result of her insight.

“Lounge Crooner Classics” is just a label for four songs that can help you.

The first is Frankie Avalon’s immortal “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” (1961), which was sung over the credits to that memorable movie. Then, ‘Otto Brandenburg’ earned forever merit for singing “Journey to the Seventh Planet” (also 1961) over the credits to an even more memorable movie than Frankie’s. Maybe. Skipping to the epochal year 1968, bigger things were happening than the demonstrations at Columbia University and The Sorbonne. 1968 was the release year for “The Lost Continent”, with its ultimate Lounge Classic theme song performed by The Peddlers; and for “The Vengeance of She”, with its comparable, but to me less successful title song performed by Robert Field.

Listen to these four songs. Take them in. As Lord Byron might invite you, ‘Roll them over on your tongue”. (The reference is to ‘Lord Byron’s’ speech at the beginning of “Bride of Frankenstein”.) If you like them, if these songs — any one of them! — connects with you, I believe you will become a happier person, a sweeter person, and maybe a less angry one.

Come with me.