Thursday, March 29, 2012

This review is

Two days ago was the official release of Birds of Relocation.  This is the latest album by Eric Peters.
I've met Eric a few times, he's even stayed at the Kulp B&B.  He is a regular on the RR and that place is a gateway drug for good music and stories.  My first real introduction to his music was hearing him play "Chrome" at Hutchmoot; I had bought the cd earlier in the day.  In typical fashion for that collection of artists it was a story of the song followed by the song.  This makes you listen to every word.  I listened and I was hooked.

Since then he has played at our church twice and each time was followed by good conversation, good food and good beer at the North Country Brewhouse.  Some tall crazy WV'er was around for one of these too (S.D. Smith who wrote an excellent BOR review at The Rabbit Room).

Also for each concert, James Witmer and Vince Anastasi provided an opener.  There's been an odd forging of friendships over this music.  Truly a wonder and a blessing of meeting new people who you may not have met otherwise. 

Enough back-story (and name/link dropping; I dropped so many links you'd think I worked at a chain factory), onto the review.

I like "Birds of Relocation".  I liked "Chrome" too, but it was dark and heavy.  Chrome put words to points of lost anguish.  Sometimes that is music to fit the bill.  BOR took a different turn because it is written from a different place.

I was thinking about this while driving.  My mind kept coming back to Jonah.  It seems like the "Chrome" album was written from a point of being inside the fish.  BOR is from the sandy beach.  Having been vomited onto the shore for the task, now ready to do it.  Yes, Eric was just compared to sand-crusted whale vomit.  I'm sure I could parallel "Scarce" and "The Miracle of Forgetting" to early aspects in the Jonah narrative.

I like EP music because it is written with heart.  "Chrome" had the heart of Jonah in the belly of the fish.  I want to have hope, I know where my hope comes from, I just can't see it.

BOR has survived the ordeal.  It is thankfully rejoicing in the sunshine.  It is a proclamation of grace and redemption; of hope fulfilled.  There are still monumental tasks before you, that you are called to; but the path is lit, and it is beautiful.

So yes, I recommend BOR.  I recommended "Chrome" usually with a warning that it was heavy.  Musically it flowed but before long you were wrapped in the struggle.  Sometimes that is music I need.  Eric delivers great melodies again but BOR delivers the other side of that struggle.

Monday, March 26, 2012

PC-USA, one more step removed

This will show up in the April newsletter for Center Presbyterian Church.  It makes for a quick blog post, and work is draining my today so this is all the effort my blog will receive.

Gracious Separation Update

"The hammer-strokes are coming thick and fast now; and filling the world with infernal thunders; and there is still the iron sound of something unbreakable deeper and louder than all the things that break." GK Chesterton

We are a few steps further into the process of Gracious Separation from the PC-USA.  We are following the process from the Presbytery and here are the upcoming items.

The CPC Session is slated to meet with the Dismissal Team from the Shenango Presbytery on April 10th.  From this meeting Session must meet 2 more times prior to a congregational meeting.

Most likely, sometime in May we will have a congregational meeting to decide "Should Center Presbyterian Church explore dismissal from the PC-USA?"  A quorum needs to be present for the meeting and 80% majority vote is required to pass the measure. 

We are thankful for the many conversations and much prayer that have surrounded this process.  A few more opportunities are being planned to answer any questions and allow for further discussions.

Following the first vote a new denomination can be selected and a second congregational vote will proceed to determine if we want to affiliate with the chosen denomination.  80% majority is once again needed.  Please continue to pray for Center Church as we seek to continue serving Jesus in this new opportunity.
Colossians 2:6-8
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sounds of the times

"The hammer-strokes are coming thick and fast now; and filling the world
with infernal thunders; and there is still the iron sound of something
unbreakable deeper and louder than all the things that break." GK Chesterton
This was a passage I hit on the drive.  I've been back to it many times since because it just sticks in my head.  Well written and revealing such  a great understanding of the existence of Truth beyond (and before) the modern fads and fashions.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Notes: "Superstition of Divorce" by GK Chesterton

This will be more than my normal review because this book has hit me as more than a normal book.  It is a solid declaration for reason.  So it seems reasonable to not just review but also to provide an overview.

I initially avoided this book because it sounded old and dated.  In some ways it is because people don't think like this anymore.  It's hard and I'd rather be lazy.  Also reading about divorce just doesn't seem appealing; and how is it a superstition?

Now a note/warning.  This is about divorce, and much more.  If that is an open wound or a point of suffering you may want to skip this; maybe not.  GKC does hit many aspects of divorce and he does not coddle to people, nor does he abandon them.  If compassion seems lacking in my write up it is probably something that I missed rather than he.  He was a vigorous defender of the "common man" putting eloquent words and powerful arguments to the basic principles that every man and woman knows.

So here goes.  This is lengthy and quote heavy, but lighter than reading the 150ish page book.  Mostly I've collected some of the key passages in hopes of passing along a glimpse of the arguments.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Jason Gray - The Golden Boy & The Prodigal

I've had this song playing all weekend.  I bought a collection of Jason Gray cds sometime ago and I remember thinking "eh, it's okay" and put them on the shelf.  He struck me as a having a "pop" feel which I tend to back away from.  Whether it is trying to be counter-culture, a rebel, an individual apart from the mob, a snob, - I do it too often and too quickly.  Generally I run from music that has "ooo-s" or "whoa-s".  Jason does it often.  After hearing (and actually listening to) a few more songs I had to dig out those old ones.  There is something truthful here and the more I listen to Jason the more I like him.  He is incredibly personable and vulnerable on stage, and it is good music.  He sings from points of hope in brokenness.

Back to the song.  This is a good version of it.  Jason Gray is really good at telling a story and the introduction is the key that unlocks the song.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"The Secret People" by GKC

This is simply a cut and paste of GKC's poem "The Secret People".  It lands on many sentiments that resonate with me currently. 

The Secret People
Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget,
For we are the people of England, that never has spoken yet.
There is many a fat farmer that drinks less cheerfully,
There is many a free French peasant who is richer and sadder than we.
There are no folk in the whole world so helpless or so wise.
There is hunger in our bellies, there is laughter in our eyes;
You laugh at us and love us, both mugs and eyes are wet:
Only you do not know us. For we have not spoken yet.