Once again this year, there’s been a debate going on between music writers about what it means to appreciate that dirty, three-letter genre simply known as “pop”. The spectrum of opinions (and number of those offering them) is of course quite wide—Katy Perry is “genius” vs. “Katy Perry is trash music”—and the two most notable articles (which represent both sides of the argument) have been a NY Times piece by Saul Austerlitz and an NPR piece by Ann Powers and Carl Wilson (Mike Powell’s response to both pieces on The Pitch is also very much…
In traditional New Testament studies, the student is trying to get as close as possible to the original text. The idea is that the closer you are to the original, the closer you are to the Inspiration that created the text in the first place.
The same principle applies to almost any branch of study, and also to art and literature. You want Kerouac’s actual scroll, Pollack’s actual canvas, Wordsworth’s actual pad, Mike Francis’ actual demo.
I think that Burton Cummings, Canada’s piano man, comes close to Inspiration in several of his songs, including songs he performed with The Guess Who….
1. Much of value comes across one’s desk during Holy Week, and this year was no exception. But the sources are seldom the expected ones. What stopped me in my tracks this week was an interview The European conducted with prominent German intellectual Martin Walser on “Kafka, Faith and Atheism” (and Karl Barth), which was picked up by The Huffington Post in 2012. Don’t gloss over! Despite the somewhat confusing allusion to Martin Luther–a generous read of which would surmise he’s referring either to the -ism that followed the man, or the way the Reformer’s understanding of vocation was culturally…
When I teach students about reconciliation, I start with an unexpected source: Eminem. Believe it or not, his new track, “Headlights,” serves not only as a musical olive branch to his mother but as a beautiful example of human reconciliation. At the same time, the rapper demonstrates an interesting deviation from this approach when he considers divine reconciliation.
Eminem describes his tense, explosive arguments with his mother as “atomic bombs” and the climate of his house growing up as “Vietnam.” He suggests that his mother struggled with alcoholism to such a degree that the state ultimately seized his younger brother, Nate,…
I recently discovered Bad Suns, an up-and-coming band from California, whose song “Salt” seems to be played almost daily during my commute. Listen to what it says: “Look in the mirror and tell me/ What it is like to be free/ How do I grasp reality/ When I don’t have an identity?/ Who, who can I look to ’cause I’m not like you, you?/ And I don’t believe in the truth, truth/ Because all of my life’s built on lies.”
When I hear these lyrics, I can’t help but think of what Paul Zahl recently says in PZ’s Podcast episode #162 called “Rain Dance”. Simple…
“So maybe [anxiety]’s just a part of who we all are, and always were. My worry now, though, is that we are starting to nurture these neuroses of ours, and treating them like pets. That can’t be a good thing.” –Craig Finn, in The Independent
I don’t often remember my dreams, yet for some reason, I still have a fairly vivid memory of a dream I had a couple years ago—in that dream, my teeth were falling out. As I later learned, dreams about teeth are normally assumed to reveal anxiety about money, relationships, and, well, just about anything. For me,…
This is a clip from a longer interview on The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne, an Irish program on RTÉ Television (ht, AP). Much of what Bono says here overlaps portions of the book Bono: In Conversation With Michka Assayas that we’ve highlighted in the past. Bono seems to be in something of a league of his own as such a huge rockstar who is so open with his (solid) Christian faith, and he is articulate about it to boot. Watch the whole interview here.
For a band that has been tirelessly pegged as “laid back”, Real Estate is quite the unassuming craftsmen. Over their past three albums, Real Estate has proven themselves particularly devoted to consummating a distinct indie guitar rock sound that has been slightly improved upon with each new album. Others of their indie peers have successfully taken the perfecting-one-sound route (looking at you Beach House), but Real Estate has been the most deceptively offhand in honing their craft, which has led to initial reactions pinning them as nothing more than “chill out” music or, worse,…
To the surprise of so many who watched, last week an Italian nun dominated The Voice of Italy by signing Alicia Keys’ “No One” in English. The absolute highlight of her appearance (which you can see in the video below) is when J-Ax, a heavily tattooed Italian rapper and one of the voice coaches, reacts with pure delight to Sister Cristina, including shedding a few tears of joy. Another highlight is that she says she auditioned for the sake of evangelism—something she claims Pope Francis inspired her to do. We are all ears, Sister! I also love that some of her fellow sisters appeared on the show in support.
Here are some highlights. Make sure you click “CC” on the video to get the English captions.
Question: What brought you here to The Voice? Sister Cristina: I have a gift and I am giving it to you. Shouldn’t things be this way?
J-Ax: If I had met you during the Mass, when I was a child, now I would be Pope! I would surely have attended all the functions. Sister Cristina: Well you have met me now.
Question: What does the Vatican say about you auditioning at The Voice? Sister Cristina: Listen, I don’t really know. I am waiting for Pope Francesco to call me on the phone. He always says we should go out and evangelize telling God doesn’t take anything away from us but will give us more. I am here for this. [The audience erupts in applause, and J-Ax begins to cry.]
“Tiny little text etched into her neck, it said, ‘Jesus lived and died for all your sins.’”
If you listen to The Hold Steady, you notice that Jesus shows up in strange places. He is etched in a neck tattoo, chilling with the Father in a character’s drug-induced hallucinations, and in the embrace of “young and awkward” lovers, just to name a few instances. If you listen to the band long enough, you notice that Jesus never leaves.
Unlike the one-dimensional Jesus of most Christian music (you know, the beatific guy who smiles beneficently upon you from up above), Craig Finn’s Jesus…
Earlier this week, Long Island hip hop veterans De La Soul announced they would be releasing a new mixtape called Smell The D.A.I.S.Y. as a continuation of their 25th anniversary celebration– this coming only weeks after they released their entire catalog for free download (!) on their website. Most notable about this announcement though was that the entire mixtape would use beats produced by the late Detroit hip hop producer J Dilla.
Each year around this time, a number of articles and mixtapes surface on the internet to pay tribute to J Dilla’s legacy (this year’s most…
WHAT: Mockingbird seeks to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways.
WHY: Are we called Mockingbird? The name was inspired by the mockingbird’s peculiar gift for mimicking the cries of other birds. In a similar way, we seek to repeat the message we have heard - God’s word of grace and forgiveness.
HOW: Via every medium available! At present this includes (but is not limited to) a daily weblog, semi-annual conferences, and an ongoing publications initiative.
WHO: At present, we employ three full-time staff, David Zahl and Ethan Richardson and William McDavid. They are helped and supported by a large number of contributing volunteers and writers. Our board of directors is chaired by Mr. Thomas Becker.
WHERE: Our offices are located at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA.
WHEN: Mockingbird was incorporated in June 2007 and is currently in its seventh year of operation.
The work of Mockingbird is made possible by the gifts of private donors and churches. Our 2014 operating budget is roughly $195,000, and with virtually no overhead, your gifts translate directly into mission and ministry. Can you help? Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like more information.
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