10 Songs

I like spotify. I only use it sporadically, but when I do, I go to town. I especially like creating playlists. I recently created a playlist entitled 40% Stonehill. Of the 25 songs I have on the playlist so far 10 have them are from Randy Stonehill. If you do the math that means 40% of the songs on the playlist are stonehill songs.

The other night I listened to 10 of the songs and am going to write a little bit about each one.

Photo by Anton Hooijdonk on Pexels.com

Song 1: In Jesus Name – Randy Stonehill from The Lazarus Heart (1994)

Thoughts: I love everything about the bridge in this song.

The Lyrics: Mercy is the miracle by which we stand. Mercy that comes pouring down from nail scarred hands. Mercy pouring out from nail scarred hands.

The Guest Artist: Stonehill employs Michael W Smith to sing the bridge and MWS nails it.

The Signature Move: The bridge hits it’s powerful climax with the requisite yeah yeahs that Smitty is known for.

Song 2. If I Stand – Rich Mullins from Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth (1988)

Thoughts:

This album contains the song Awesome God that propelled Mullins to the top of contemporary Christian music at the time. However, it is the lyrics from If I Stand where the album derives it’s title. Also this song is imbued with much more lyrical depth and sheer poetry than Awesome God. If I Stand is one of many fine songs on Winds O Stuff O (my nickname for the album) that along with Awesome God displays the passionate genius of Mullins.

Song 3: It’s Now – Randy Stonehill from Can’t Buy A Miracle (1988)

Thoughts: It had been quite a while since I had heard this song. Of all the Stonehill songs mentioned on these 10 songs it may be my least favorite. However, I do like this rocking anthem and was struck by how timely the lyrics are 1/3 of a century after it’s original release.

Think about 2020 and consider these lyrics:

The world is spinning faster,
It’s out of control, it’s out of control,
In the air is the smell of disaster,
No running away, it’s time to say who we’re gonna choose to make our master.

Song 4: I’m A Punk – Alan Sherman

Thoughts: I’m a Punk is a song from the 1971 cartoon adaptation of the Cat in The Hat. Even though my family grew up listening to the music of Alan Sherman, I didn’t realize until recently that Sherman had provided the voice for T Geisel’s titular cat, This song reminds me of a first person version of you’re a mean one Mr. Grinch,

Song 5:We Were All so Young – Randy Stonehill from Edge of the World 2002

This song about the beginning of the Jesus Music era features many of the pioneers of the Jesus Music era, which I guess is the point.

The Guest Artists: Larry Norman, Phil Keaggy, Annie Herring, Noel Paul Stookey Barry McGuire and Love Song.

Song 6 Deep Calling Deep – Margaret Becker from Grace 1995

I’m a big fan of Maggie B. Deep Calling Deep which opens her 1995 album Grace (The follow up to Soul and the end of her 1 word album phase) goes along way to explaining why. Soulful. wistful, haunting and rocking all in the same package. an

Song7: American Fast Food. Randy Stonehill Equator 1982

Have you ever had a moment that started as a dream come true and ended up a nightmare? Thia aong reminds me of one such time. A few years ago my family drove to Indinapolis to visit friends and watch Randy Stonehill in concert. It was an intimate gathering and Stonehill asked for a volunteer to belch during this song which is the high point of the song. I volunteered and totally biffed the belch. It took me a long time before I could appreciate this song again. Sorry Sir Stonehill. I’ll tty not to bring it up again(belching humor).

Song 8: The Pirates Who Don’t do Anything – Veggie Tales

I’m a big fan of Phil Vischer and all things Veggietales. I especially love silly songs with Larry. The song the Pirates who don’t do anything really has had a life of it’s own. I think it’s the only song to have recurring parts in veggiedom. They came back to host the silly song countdown and were featured prominently in both veggie tales movies. Usually my favorite silly song is whatever I’m listening to at the time, but, this is the one I listen to the most. I still haven’t been to Boston in the Fall.

Song 9: Finish Well – Randy Stonehill from Spirit Walk (2011)

The last Stonehill song of the 10 finishes well. Besides having a very similar melody as Randy’s Stop the World it is a good song, My favorite line is chase the fickle butterfly of cool.

Song 10 Wind and Wave Jacob’s Trouble from Door Into Summer (1989)

Jacob’s Trouble is my favorite band to play ping pong to and Wind and Wave is one of my favorite songs of theirs. Instead of talking about them I’ll just show a video of them performing it back in ’91.

I hope you enjoyed this special glimpse into my musical tastes. It is something I hope to do again.

I forgot about Amnesia again.

In 1995 a few moths after returning from 2 years as a missionary in Russia, I traveled from Illinois to Columbia, South Carolina and enrolled in a 1 year Biblical Certificate program at Columbia Biblical Seminary. I lived in the dorms and really enjoyed the friendship and collaboration with my fellow students.

While taking a survey course in the Old Testament, I was struck by the cyclical nature of God’s relationship with Israel. I wrote lyrics for a song about it and asked a classmated to write music for it. He performed the song at a chapel service.

About 10 years ago I came across some of my writings from when I was in Seminary. I happened across the song and realized I had nearly forgotten about it. I typed it out and placed it in a blog.

A few months ago I was looking at my over 10 year output of posts for my various blogs. I happened upon the song again and again enough time had passed that I had almost forgotten it again. The funny thing is the song I keep forgetting about is titled Amnesia.

I’d like to share the song with you again until the next time I forget about it.

Amnesia
Word by David Roller
Music by Jeff Six

Israel, oh Israel those who bear my name
Why do you act like other gods and I are just the same
Israel oh Israel what's it going to be?
What do I have to do before you'll turn to me?

You were my chosen people in my promised place
Made to be a blessing, you trampled on my grace.

Israel oh Israel I cry over you
Why do you keep forgetting what you're supposed to do
Israel oh Israel what's it going to be
What do I have to do before you'll turn to me?

Israel oh Israel I still wait for you
I am your God and Father worship what is true
Israel oh Israel it's time to make your choice
Serve your own desires or listen to my voice

Israel never returned, I sent them away
They serve as a witness, even to this day

America, America land of the free
Free to do just as you please, you walk away from me
America, America what's it going to be?
What do I have to do before you'll turn to me?

Did I give you freedom just to gain your wealth?
You were free to worship, you exalt yourself.

America, America, I cry over you
Why do you keep forgetting what you're supposed to do?
America, America what's it going to be?
What do I have to do before you'll turn to Me?

You've had riots and you've had wars but you would not turn
AIDS and Oklahoma City. Will you ever learn?

America, America, I still wait for you.
Remember your God and Father. Worship what is true.
America, America it's time to make your choice.
Serve your own desires or listen to My voice

Remember Israel!

The Politics of Christianity

*** If you are stopping by from the a to z road trip, click here to get links for all my 2020 a to z posts. If you want to see what the blog looks like post a to z challenge, feel free to read this post prior to clicking***

Dave Handles the Tough Issues

The other day I overheard my wife Amy ask the following question:

“How come all the people I know who are protesting the stay at home order are Christians and the people I know who are defending the order are not?”

It is a great question, one that she’s going to ask our small group leader when we meet next. It got me thinking not only about that question but about some broader questions that her question made me ponder. One of these was: Is american evangelicalism becoming more about politics and less about following Christ?

Wikipeidia defines Evangelicalism as

Evangelicalism (/ˌiːvænˈdʒɛlɪkəlɪzəm, ˌɛvæn-, -ən/), evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide, trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity that maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, solely through faith in Jesus’s atonement.] Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or “born again” experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God‘s revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message.

Wikipedia

That simply is what I mean when I say that I am a Christian. I’ve been saved by God through Christ’s life, death and resurrection, I believe the Bible is the Word of God and I believe that I am called to share this good news to all. “Christian” may mean other things to other people, but this is what I mean by it. Also, since we are doing definitions, when I say “Church” I mean the world wide group of Christians per the above definition.

My concern is that evangelicalism at least in America seems to be adding to the Wikipedia definition. Which leads us back to Amy’s question. Why was all the support she was seeing for the stay at home order coming from those who believed differently than she does and everything she was seeing in opposition to the stay at home order coming from “like minded” believers.

Now it doesn’t surprise me that there is a political divide in this country about the response to the corona virus. There seems to be a political divide in this country about everything these days. We all seem to have been transported into a Seussian childrens’ book entitled “Red State, Blue State.” I get that. What I don’t get is that the evangelical church seems to have picked sides.

I remember 30 to 40 years ago when the republican party was courting the evangelical vote, but since then it seems like they’ve got engaged to it. Why is the church getting engaged to the republican party when we are supposed to be the Bride of Christ?

My political beliefs tend to originate from my Christian faith. A better way to say that is my faith informs my political preferences. I do vote republican much of the time, but there have been many instances where my faith has informed me the better candidate was not riding on the elephant. I have received much grief, even ridicule over the years for this practice. Some people it seems, have their political preference inform their faith. A few years ago a young man who had just moved to our near Chicago suburb from downstate Illinois visited our youth group. While introducing himself he said something to the effect of “Of course I’m a Christian I’m a Republican.”

Over the years I have seen a growing tendency to think the exact thing. This kind of thinking has had many evangelical leaders promote Republican dogma like it’s a tenet of the Christian faith. One of my heroes, the late Billy Graham, has 3 very instructive quotes regarding the mix of politics and religion.

…  it would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.

Billy Graham – Parade Magazine 1981


“I’m just going to preach the gospel and am not going to get off on all these hot-button issues. If I get on these other subjects, it divides the audience on an issue that is not the issue I’m promoting. I’m just promoting the gospel.”

Billy Graham 2005 – quoted in What Billy Graham taught us about a healthy relationship between religion and politics – Deseret News 2/21/2018

“I’m trying to stay out of it and just keep preaching the gospel, because there’s nothing coming out of Washington or any of those places that are going to save the world or transform men and women. It’s Christ,”

Billy Graham 1987 – quoted in What Billy Graham taught us about a healthy relationship between religion and politics – Deseret News 2/21/2018

I think that Graham’s quotes are even more instructive when you consider in his lifetime he met and prayed with every president from Truman to Obama.

Unfortunately not everyone agrees with Graham on this. I have been embarrassed and outraged by how unchristian much of the political rehtoric I see by fellow believers. Our President had his share of rants during the early days of his daily co-vid briefings. On at least 2 occasions he went off on journalists who were asking valid questions. In both cases, I saw on Facebook people I respected saying the reporters deserved those attacks and not one apology for our President’s behavior. One person referred to one rant as one of the best things he ever heard him say. The main gist of the commentary was that the left deserved everything the President was doling out.

As a Christian I believe that the only thing I deserve is a Christless eternity as a result of my own sins. I also beleieve that my salvation comes from God through Christ and is taught in the Bible. Nothing else is needed. When evangelicals defend unchristian behavior because they like the politics behind it they are not showing an understanding of Christ’s redemptive love to a watching world.

I am very passionate about political involvement. I have written many blog posts, letters to the editor and letters to my elected officials regarding my beliefs. I have had many politically charged conversations and firmly believe that I have a duty and a responibility to share my convictions with my representatives.

Another passion I have is my passion to shower the world with the love of Christ. If I had to choose between passions I hope I’d choose the passion mandated in the Bible. Jesus states this passion very succinctly in the book of John …

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:12-13

As I come to an end of my thoughts about Christianity and politics, I will try to circle back and answer my wife’s question. The Christian response to the Covid 19 situation, or any situation for that matter, should be the response that speaks in the economy of God rather than man. Man’s economy may be all about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. God’s economy is about experiencing Christ’s love, sharing that love and putting others needs ahead of your own.

Capital E and F and Gee I’m Behind

I wasn’t planning on participating in the A to Z challenge this year. Until Mid March I was working 2 jobs which took about 70 hours of my week. I decided to participate in the this years challenge after both my jobs were disrupted by co-vid 19. Shortly after signing up, I was hired by a local grocery store as a part time overnight grocery stocker. On April 1st I had 1/2 day orientation and I went in for my first overnight shift the next day at 10. I was scheduled Thursday, Friday and Saturday last week and I assumed that would be my part time schedule going forward. I was mostly delighted when I checked the upcoming schedule over the weekend to find out that my part time job was a full time one with me working 2 additional nights to what I had done the week before.

The one drawback is that the additional hours and getting used to a new sleep schedule added to my natural tendency for procrastination (I didn’t always procrastinate, I had put it for several years) have wreaked a reasonable amount of havoc on my a to z challenge goals/duties. It is why I am combining Monday and Tuesdays posts here on Wednesday . So let’s get to it shall we.

Edinburgh

When I think Scotland. I think Braveheart. Braveheart is one of the most amazing movies I have ever scene. It is one of the best 15 films I have ever scene. Here is a brief snippet I wrote about it several years ago in a different blog:

The story of William Wallace is beautifully rendered and has an evocative score. It’s amazing how an Australian can make my Irish/German heart embrace a zeal for Scottish patriotism.

Frankfort

When I think of Frankfort it is not the capital of Kentucky that comes to mind it is the Summer of 1986 that I spent as a camp Counselor at Camp Manitoqua in Frankfort, Il. I promptly began calling it Camp Manic Toga. Camp Manic Toga is where I learned to play 5 word random.

5 word random is one of the many variants of Random, a game which camp counselors Perry Kroeschell and Dave Izenbart brought to Manic Toga from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. Random is just a game where you say random sentences or phrases. One random I made in the summer of 1986 was,

A small furry graper pretends he is neither Sunny or Cher.

5 word random can be played in a group of 2 or more people. People rotate turns saying one random word until they have five words that form a gramatically correct random sentence. After the sentence is constructed the next person repeats the sentence and everyone ruminates on it or as I like to say everybody goes hmmm.

I asked some family members to illustrate this game for me. Here are 3 examples we just did.

Person 1: Byzantine Person 2: Architecture Person 1: Eats Person 2: Miniscule Person 1: Malomars

Sentence: Byzantine Architecture eats miniscule malomars.

Person 1: Bananas Person 2: Need Person 3: Multiple Person1: Banana Person 2 :parties

Sentence: Bananas need multiple banana parties

Person 1: King Peron 2: Juggling Person1: Isn’t Person 2: Ever Person 1: Required.

Sentence: King juggling isn’t ever required.

I began sharing this game with friends and family shortly after camp ended and have been doing so far years. I have used it overseas, at parties and in class rooms but it is especially conducive for car trips. We have even played it in more than one car at a time with the aid of a walkie talkie.

I think one of the reasons why I like 5 word random so much is that’s it deceivingly educational. It helps expand vocabulary and models grammatically correct sentences. It fosters collaboration and in the 21st century I’ve been able to get people to put down their devices for an hour and connect with the people sitting next to them.

Georgetown

When I think of the capital of Guyana, I think of Jim Jones and the Jonestown massacre of 1978. I was 14 at the time when over 900 people (1/3 of which were children) performed mass suicide. I remember Powers Boothe’s emmy winning portrayal of Jones in a tv mini-series.

I read recently that

 the legacy of Jonestown has been reduced to the popular expression of “drinking the Kool-Aid

I am at once in agreement with and bothered by that assessment. The phrase comes from Jone’s followers drinking cyanide laced flavor-aid (a different brand similar to kool-aid). In it’s most used sense (a metaphor for extreme sports devotion) the phrase trivializes the memory of those 900 victims. The phrase works better as a warning to change behavior or thinking for example:

Don’t be so quick to drink the kool-aid that living together before marriage protects against divorce as studies continue to show divorces much higher when people cohabitate prior to marriage rather than waiting until after the honeymoon.

Well 3 letters in a row and the day is almost 7/8 over so I better post this thing. For more alphabeticaL fun and excitement click on the links below.

A to Z Challenge

E is for Ernie. A to Z Challenge 2016 (Cubs Home Run Leaders)

F is for Frank. A to Z Challenge 2015 (White Sox Home Run Leaders)

G is for Get Together. A to Z Challenge 2019 (Sherman Brothers Songs)

Facial Recognition

Two weeks ago I stopped shaving. The school district I sub for shut down the week before their scheduled spring break. A few days later the movie theatre I work for shut down as well. The theatre does not allow facial hair so I saw this as an opportunity to add shaving to my spring break.

Until that point I had been working about 60 to 65;hours a week between the 2 jobs so I didn’t really do too much in terms of job hunting over the extended Spring Break.

Today would have been the first day back to school after Spring Break. So I decided to start looking for work,today.

Thiis is how I looked after 2 weeks of no shaving
A few minutes later
A few minutes after that only the mustache remained.
A few minutes later this young goofy guy emerged

I had thought that the clean shaven approach might be my best bet. I drove down to a local grocery store that I knew was hiring. I went to the service desk and they said to apply on line. So much for shaving I thought.

I went back home, applied on line. I went on a walk with my wife and a few minutes before we got home , the store called and asked me in for an interview. I must have put the best face on it as I was hired on the spot.