Why should the Presbyterians have all the good music?

January 24, 2016

It’s been a while since I wrote about Christian music, but something this morning really made me pause and think.

Horatio Spafford is known for a few things, principally as a chum of great evangelist Dwight Moody and the writer of “It is well with my Soul” – a hymn inspired by the tragic loss of his four daughters in a shipwreck when crossing the Atlantic to holiday in England. The hymn, published by Sankey to a tune by Philip Bliss, is a standard in traditional protestant Christian churches, an inspiring message that whatever the world throws at a person God’s love and grace are sufficient to meet the challenge. It’s a hymn strong on key Christian themes, and recognised and sung across the English-speaking world.

Which is why I’m rather disappointed that Matt Redman nicked the chorus to shore up one of his recent compositions. Read the rest of this entry »


Just a quick thought about leadership.

March 30, 2014

This morning I was treated to a Mr Hopley sermon. These are usually well thought out, structured for ease of understanding, and often include maps and spatial or timeline elements which help to explain and educate the congregation. Mr Hopley is a well respected teacher of Humanities. You can tell.

This morning’s message concerned the end of Moses, who led the Israelites through the desert to the Promised Land, but was not permitted to enter it himself. Only one thing stuck with me from the whole sermon, and it’s this:

Leaders are human.

I hate being in charge as much as I love it. The feeling that I can do something and make a difference is quickly balanced with the responsibility which weighs on the person at the top.

So we open our Bibles (being well brought up church types) and we find (among others):

  • Noah the drunkard
  • Abraham the wanderer
  • Jacob the thief
  • Joseph the braggart
  • Moses the murderer
  • David the adulterer
  • Gideon the coward

So no matter how bad we feel about our leadership, we’re hardly the worst example. As a bloke, it can be a bit daunting to realise most of the strong assured and dependable leaders in the Bible seem to be women. Or called Jesus.

I’m really not going to get into a slanging match about women priests (bishops, archbishops, popes, whatever) but it makes me think sometimes.


Harvest Songs – Where’s all the new material?

September 23, 2013

I’m playing at church on Sunday. My minister is talking to me about Harvest themed songs, and he hasn’t found much to enjoy from the “modern” worship canon.

Not that there is much really.

Harvest for most Christians is about thanking God for the abundance of creation. Even with all the skill in the world, farmers rely on nature to operate within normal tolerances and for us, that’s in the gift of Almighty God. We like a good knees-up. Anyone who thinks we don’t know how to party has never read about Jesus’ first recorded miracle – the whole water into wine thing. We are encouraged to celebrate, but apparently we must do it with a tragically dated soundtrack.
Read the rest of this entry »


Tooled up

September 8, 2013

I have too many tools. Not different tools, you understand, but too many of the same kind.

I have at least three blade screwdrivers of similar sizes and frankly I only need one. The same goes for pairs of pliers. I have drill bits I don’t use because I have another set that’s always to hand when I need it.

I reckon I’d be able to fill a decent size box with stuff I have but don’t need because I have redunancy across toolboxes, and honestly there are tools I’ll never use except in the event the one in the house breaks and one in my toolbox is missing. That assumes I’ll remember I have a third.

I’m not one for pet charitable endeavours, but I want to highlight these guys. Tools with a Mission accumulate unwanted or surplus tools and send them abroad. Yes, it’s a Christian organisation. We as a faith group have a history of charitable works (sometimes despite ourselves, sometimes regardless of the consequences) and I like to have a look first to see what they’re actually doing and where my money goes…

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Running Café Church … in a café

July 21, 2013

I went to church tonight. Except it was in Starbucks. Although it was definitely church. But the drinks were definitely by Starbucks.

Oh boy, another long winded rambling post about church and music and stuff. You can have the tl:dr version here: “Church in a café still looks and smells like church, which confuses me a bit.”

There.

Or read on to find out where I’m going with this. Read the rest of this entry »


Worship Musicians Unconference

April 1, 2013

We’re going to host the most chilled out grass roots worship music event I’ve ever heard of.

wmu - Worship Musicians Unconference
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World Premiere

March 28, 2013

Yesterday I attended the world premiere of a commission I’d written. Read the rest of this entry »


Psalm 150 – and why the guitar is an instrument of truth.

February 6, 2013

Have you read Psalm 150? It’s a bit of the Bible which is quite short and to the point, but also very clear on a single issue.

Praise God. Praise him with music, and dancing.

I can’t dance. Read the rest of this entry »


My New Christmas Song

December 17, 2012

I wrote a song! It’s got Shepherds and Angels in it. So, it must by definition be a Christmas song. It’s astonishing when I think about it how much the shepherds feature in my Christmas thinking. Read the rest of this entry »


The Theology of Christian Worship Music

November 8, 2012

Could somebody explain the purpose and underlying theology of music in contemporary church worship? It strikes me I’ve been doing it for a couple of decades and although I kind of get it by instinct, I have little real understanding. Read the rest of this entry »