Nov 302017
 

I met Herman Selderhuis in Geneva back in 2009. His biography of John Calvin had just been released and he was to deliver a paper during the week long celebration of Calvin’s 500th birthday.

He couldn’t stay long…it was he and his wife’s anniversary and he had to get back to the Netherlands…she didn’t think listening to scholars bleat on about John Calvin was a properly romantic way to note the occasion.

He was still gracious enough to give me some of his time and I appreciated it greatly.

 

His work on Calvin was outstanding and now he’s applied his gifts to the life of Martin Luther.

Selderhuis has a way of capturing the men behind the copious mythology that surrounds them and has an almost miraculous way of translating massive amounts of research into almost conversational text.

There are tons of books about Luther…but if you want a great biography that is not laden down with scholarly verbiage, this is the place to start.

Buy it with Herman’s volume on Calvin and you will know more about these two great Reformers than most…

Buy it from us on Amazon by clicking here…

I conned T into going to the Justice League movie with me last week.

It should have been called “Wonder Woman and Others Wearing Costumes”.

Gadot defines the role forever…but the rest of the movie is pretty weak sauce.

My question however, has nothing to do with the film.

My question is, how the hell does anyone afford to go to the movies more than once a year?

Thankfully, I rarely want to…

Why I buy Apple computers…the machine I’m writing this on is now eight years old…

I was going to put some “Christian” music on T’s mp3 player, but he hasn’t done anything to be punished that way…

I’m guessing that the scandal around Ravi Zacharias will have the same impact on his career that the ones surrounding Gospel For Asia have had on that den of scoundrels… minimal…

I forgot everything else I was going to mention…

 

  47 Responses to “Loose Ends”

  1. CCM (Comtemporary Christian Music) is a closed system in my opinion. There is a lot of good healthy music out there that is performed well, but flies under the radar of CCM radio. I find that using iTunes helps me discovery music that’s good and I never knew existed.

  2. Michael,
    Download this for Trey. It’s my favorite Christian song — the trouble is you need to find people who are not tied to the church scene, and perhaps not even christian, to find these songs

    Joan Osborne
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Gx1Pv02w3Q

  3. Yes, MLD, that is a good song!

    Michael, what genre’s of music is Trey into? Also, I think my Dell PC is in it’s fifth year (and making me nervous), and my previous PC, and HP, lasted about 3 years. About to cave in and go Apple.

  4. my youngest is a life long fan of Gary Newman and she took her niece to hear him last week in Seattle… i wasn’t too thrilled, but they chatted with the group, the men were respectful and serious and she did point out to the girl that this was a rock and roll group with a long history and that they did what they did without the use of drugs and alcohol which did impress her… which, i think was the point that she wanted to get across … and they did have a fun bonding experience, i think … dunno … my youngest is also a big fan of Pavarotti … wonder how she’ll work that into a life lesson for her niece…

  5. P.S. i found that Selderhuis has 2 books on Calvin – which one is the recommended one?

  6. Em,

    “A Pilgrims Life”

    This along with Bruce Gordon’s bio are the standard in my opinion.

    God knows I’ve read them all… 🙂

  7. MLD,

    T and I both love that song…I’ll check and see if we actually own it.

  8. Dan,

    He is into rap…but he also likes the Beatles and Native American chants.

    I don’t let him near the radio…. 🙂

  9. I enjoy going to the movies, but only get there maybe 1-2 times per year, for the same reason you mention.

  10. Michael! Good choice to keep him from the radio. I know the rap artist Lecrae is a believer. My wife has some CDs of Native American music, one of which is done by a brother in the Lord (not some white guy trying to cash in on the blossoming Christian Native American music scene….ha!).

  11. One other thing Michael, not trying to imply by last comment that Trey should only have Christian musicians in his collection. Man, someone could have a cow if they looked at my collection!

  12. CK, how much does a ticket go for nowadays for a first-run release? Just wondering if I need to start saving up now for the next Star Wars show.

  13. Rap – Tell him to try NF. Christian guy who raps, but no corny at all.

  14. For me, the “manufactured sound” and often seemingly forced lyrics on a lot of modern CCCM frustrate me. But there’s also some really good Christian stuff out there. Pretty much everything from Rich Mullins and Twila Paris, Chris Rice, Michelle Tumes, Bebo Norman (his 2008 self-titled CD is great), Phil Wickham’s 2009 Heaven & Earth CD, the list goes on.

    For kids/teens, there is some modern sounding Christian stuff out there that’s similar style as popular secular music out there, but the thing is at the end of the day the Christian stuff is going to have Christian lyrics talking about or singing to God, which if the kids/teens aren’t interested in or open to, they aren’t probably going to like all that much no matter what it sounds like. When all your teen friends are listening to the latest pop star with raunchy lyrics and that takes off all their clothes gyrating around, it take the special kid that’s willing to forsake all that and go their own path.

  15. *Make that “CCM” in my post above. “CCCM” is a whole other entity. 😉

  16. Dan, about $14.00. That’s the cheap part. Popcorn is about $200.00 and only the rich and famous can afford the candy or soda. 😎

  17. Chris, CCM…CCCM…😁
    Speaking of Chris, I especially agree with your suggestion of Chris Rice. Really good stuff. Most of his songs don’t follow the prescribed template.

  18. Haha! Thanks CK, I’ll avoid the popcorn and soda…and I’ll take out a loan to get the half-full bags of Skittles.

    Agree with the Chris Rice props. Very thoughtful lyrics he writes. Definitely something missing in much of CCM. Nicole Nordeman is a good singer/songwriter as well.

  19. CCM, aside from super talent like Keith Green (imho), has always seemed like they were keeping up with the Jones’s (Stryper, Bethel, Maranatha). From poor production quality (not including DC Talk) to ripped-off styles, it was hard to get into any of it. Try I did, though. What I’ve come to think is that music is kind of like a magesterium unto itself between Science and Spiritual. It was specifically created by God for his glory. It can create altered states of consciousness in humans. It is a soulful-spiritual endeavor that is transcendent yet scientific.

    And Lucifer created it. For this reason, in this cosmos, he will always produce music that sounds proportionately better to our flesh than the Church will music that is attractive to our regenerated selves. Besides, no.one even sticks with the good stuff anymore (hymns).

  20. I only try to see matinees. AMC recently cut the 9AMish shows I’m lucky to find a 10AMish show. Too much later cuts into the day this time of year. Agree about Gal Gadot. She brings a sweetness to the role with her smile… the only hero who’s likable.

    D5 is a Waif, “I don’t like the other songs only KLOVE! The other songs give me nightmares!” She said while U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name” was playing… *sigh*

    A year ago I had both kids rocking out to Nightwish.

  21. 17) Yes, I love Chris Rice. His lyrics are poetic and evoke great imagery while his smooth & subdued style is pretty unique in the CCM world. He has a sound all his own which is unique where lots of CCM sounds the same. Songs like “Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus”, “Deep Enough to Dream”, “Go Light Your World”, “Wind and Spirit”, “Sometimes Love”, “Life Means So Much” and more are truly worthwhile. And his live recording of “Cartoons” is just plain fun!

    Where I live there are 3 CCM radio stations and because I’m an eternal optimist (or just stupid – I’m not sure which), I keep repeating this same exercise when I go for a drive: (1) Turn on radio and select station 1, (2) Hearing some boring cookie-cutter song that they’ve played a million times before, I switch to station 2. (3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 and then go to station 3. Finally in frustration turn off radio and switch to my own collection of music and put on something I like 🙂

    Someone else mentioned dcTalk – they are another band that broke out of the mold – I still listen to them sometimes too (they are certainly harder-edged than Chris Rice tho).

    I still like some of the modern cookie-cutter CCM stuff too, it’s just that after awhile it all starts sounding pretty much the same.

  22. 19) descended said “And Lucifer created it. For this reason, in this cosmos, he will always produce music that sounds proportionately better to our flesh than the Church will music that is attractive to our regenerated selves. Besides, no.one even sticks with the good stuff anymore (hymns).”

    Setting aside the hymns comment (I love many hymns too), I have to believe that this SHOULD NOT be this way, but I have to agree with you that it does seem largely to be the way it works out. To me, as believers, we SHOULD be producing the best quality music around precisely because we are born again and operating on a fuller/deeper level than unbelievers. I’m not aware of the Bible saying Lucifer actually created music, but he certainly does know how to use it. But so does God and I’ve got to believe God’s better at it than the devil so we as believers ought to be doing a better job of it. Yet, from a purely musical/artistic perspective, it does often seem that the secular world has indeed outdone us here. There are exceptions of course. When I heard Phil Wickham’s 2009 Heaven and Earth CD, it sounded unlike anything I’d ever really heard anyway at the time (it also had very meaningful and poetic lyrics and the whole album took you on a journey from start to finish). As a whole though, we need to up our game.

  23. Just a comment on CCM…
    It will not change until it gets out of Nashville;
    It will not change until it’s out from under CGM group;
    It will not change as long as K-Love is the major outlet.

    There are great people out there who are artists with vision. Without venues (live performance is the only paying proposition these days) and the ability to have their music heard and discovered, it’s hard to see how the change will happen.

    BTW, from personal experience – 150,000+ streams will earn you a little under $24. Unless artists are actively supported, it’s a tough gig.

  24. If you want good quality Christian songs, sing the Psalms to yourself in the shower and in your car.

  25. A very local musician (Minnesota born and bred) named Sara Groves is worth checking out also! Local meaning that you won’t hear her on K-Love or The Joy FM (Atlanta station). Very poetic with an earthy, natural vibe.

    Oh, and I won’t listen to K-Love or The Joy FM now through 10pm (the odd, somewhat vaguely agreed-upon time which some stations think is the end of the Christmas season) December 25th because of the incessant repetition of the same 6 Christmas songs.

  26. Chris Long @ #22

    You’re right. I overstated Lucifer’s part in it. I suppose God created it, Lucifer had charge in using it for God’s glory.

    Duane said it won’t change until it gets out of the CGM, Nashville – CMI, really. I totally agree but even further, it won’t change until we

    stop going to church to listen to the Shaman
    and show up to
    cap off our week of living the faithful life
    Instead of
    start our week “filling up the gas tank” trying to live faithfully

    It also might help to pay the music director to find and create worship music – maybe even more than the pastor gets paid.
    😮 😮
    Imagine all the CC’s with pastors making 40k a year and the music director making 60k (I’m probably way off in the numbers). Cats and dogs! Living together!

  27. Dan

    My wife insists on KLOVE Christmas

    By Dec 27 they haven’t stopped
    and I want to take a hammer to my head in 4/4

  28. 26
    I guess I mean what another pastor said

    “What’s with all the prophecy updates!?… We show up and can’t wait for the worship music and prayer to finish up so we can hear what new word the pastor has.”

    Tickling itching ears. Satan has done a bang up job infiltrating even the most conservative, line x line teaching.

    (Not that it was easier with other methods)

  29. What is KLOVE – a local Christian station? Do they play this for Christmas?
    If not, I question whether they like Christmas.
    Love this song / version
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADbJLo4x-tk

  30. descended (#27),…haha! You are right, these stations do drag it on for a few days after Dec 25th. I think I confused the Christmas music thing with all the people here in GA who SUDDENLY abandon their Christmas trees to the curb and shut off all their Christmas lights at the stroke of midnight Dec 25-26th.

    MLD, I think that K-Love (and The Joy FM here in the ATL) do in fact allow some Christmas songs on their station that are not done by Third Day, Toby Mac, and Casting Crowns. I’ve heard Jose Feliciano (sp?) and the Trans Siberian Orchestra played during Christmas on these stations. I may have heard the David Bowie/Bing Crosby song as well.

    Still waiting breathlessly for “Last Christmas” by Wham!….

    Um….yeah….

  31. #26 Descended

    Yes, now it is Capitol Christian Music Group…

  32. Duane @ 23: Absolutely right. Though I would add it’s not just K-LOVE. There’s the big 3: K-Love, Salem/The Fish, and Air1. All 3 do the same thing though Air1 USED TO be more adventurous with playing at least more alternative type stuff (they still do a bit, but not nearly as much). Air1 at least still has no commercials. But they still are very narrowly focused in their sound and sounding more like K-LOVE & Salem with each passing day.

    Whenever I want to gripe about Christian radio though, I have to remind myself that I actually have the same gripe about all radio because it’s the same story on the secular stations and has been for a long time now. When I switch to the local “oldies” station that plays mostly 80’s now (I guess 80’s became oldies…), it’s like they only have 30 songs they pull from (just like the CCM stations). Ever since Radio became more bureaucratically controlled with computers running the playlists instead of deejay’s picking, it’s gotten really sad.

  33. My cure for XMAS Holiday Music & Ads

    iPhone + Pandora + earbuds

  34. We lost a great classic rock radio station here in Southern California, 100.3 FM The Sound, to 24/7 christian drivel. It’s a market dynamics thing, I get it, which is why I generally program my own Apple Music playlists & Pandora stations. The cost of subscription far outweighs the intrusive commercials.

    Of course, until Net Neutrality is stripped away…

  35. #32 Chris

    Agreed. Moreover, between the big three, there are only two programmers doing the national playlists. Also note that Capitol and subsidiary labels very often provide the money and “swag” for their contests and promotions. It’s a closed circle… and a bit of a scandal.

  36. Chris Long, good points. Long gone are the days when you could call a station and request a song to be played…yes, one could do that as recently as the early 1980s! Christian station or not, it’s about branding and money. Nothing wrong about making money, heck we all make money. Just seems like all radio has gotten boring, catering to a target audience…for example 18-26 year olds or middle class stay at home moms.

    But on the other hand, if you like what they play, then I have no qualms with you (you general). The Joy FM here in ATL has a prayer line that runs around the clock, and my wife has called them a few times when she was in need of some prayer support.

  37. Dan

    Remember when FM stations would play a whole album side… still remember those late nights with the radio.

  38. Duane, yes I remember that!

    Back in Minneapolis there is a classic rock station, KQRS 92FM, that I think did that in the past. As far as I know they still do a “block party weekend” where they will play 4 in a row by a group/artist. Yes, they do have their “staple” songs that brand their station, but I think it’s one of the few stations around that actually plays a variety of songs (within the classic rock genre of course).

  39. Duane, also…I think those stations that did whole album sides were branded “album rock” stations, were they not? Just trying to dust off my memory of radio back in the 70s.

  40. #35 Duane: Right on. And it’s very frustrating. It’s not so much that there isn’t some good Christian music out there, but a lot of it never gets played if it doesn’t fit into the very extremely narrow format and sound that the powers that be have decided is worthy. And because labels and artists know this is the reality, it really limits the type of stuff that gets produced. There are people like Sara Groves or Chris Rice out there, but you aren’t likely to ever hear their stuff much on the big corporate Christian stations.

  41. Chris/Dan

    We have run into this closed circle, especially with Martyrs Prayers – now at 200,000 streams, played on BBC Sunday Morning nationwide, Radio Vatican, every radio and TV station in El Salvador, etc., but never broke into CCM (even with several “luminaries” on the album – Keaggy, Kaiser, etc.). It was “political” as we dealt with justice issues. This is not a complaint as much as an observation… You are supposed to stay in your/their lane…

  42. Duane,

    And it seems like CCM radio’s lane is to never veer off into the complicated, painful, and scary lanes.

  43. Ah, yes, the CCM debates again…

    Actually, I guess there’s no real debate, seems to be pretty much a consensus. And I can’t argue with most of it.

    30 years ago I was really into it. I wasn’t raised in a Christian household, so the Christian station I found was kinda like a lifeline into my faith, (closet listener!) and I was fed a lot from it.

    Although I still have many of the albums from way back then, I’ve had to search out the stuff that “flies under the radar of CCM” as mentioned way up at the top. As Chris Long mentioned, the format is very narrow.

  44. Michael,

    8 years on your Apple, you say? I’ve got three older PCs in my house, still running quite well. One is about 9, one is 12 (well, the motherboard is, anyway), and the oldest is an Acer Laptop, 14 years old. All are still purring along.
    I will confess, however, that which each newer version of Windows I get more frustrated….

    I do believe , and have tried for myself, that Apple makes good products. What I don’t like is being made to use their products almost exclusively once you’ve started. I prefer to have options. Although I will say they’ve come a long way in that department.

  45. #43 Owen

    Another thing that saddens me about CCM is that while other genres honor their “legacy” (read “older”) artists, we do not. Old friends like Randy Stonehill (one of the most able songwriters I have ever met) Phil Keaggy (still a stellar guitarist) Glenn Kaiser (incredible bluesman) and so many others are just sidelined. Its really a tragedy…

  46. Duane,

    I hear you. I still have Randy, Glenn, and Phil in my library. (Actually just aquired Phil’s Christmas albums). One of my faves from Glenn is still “Great God in Heaven”.

    The only ones I’ve really seen honoured are the dead ones (Keith Green, Rich Mullins,…).

    Some time ago, I saw a clip of an interview with Eric Clapton. When they asked him “how’s it feel to be the world’ greatest guitarist?” (my paraphrase, I don’t remember the exact wording used), he responded, “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Phil Keaggy.”

  47. I love Phil Keaggy and Glenn Kaiser/Rez Band. My favorite Keaggy album is The Wind And The Wheat (yes, I am more into the instrumental stuff).

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)

%d bloggers like this: