Archives For May 2014

Here’s a thought that I repeat here with prayer-filled sigh and grateful amen.

working theory

If you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of exile, knowing that you were ransomed from futile ways inherited from your forefathers’

(1.Pet.1:18 ESV)

 

 

The past week witnessed the debut of ‘Neon Steeple’. David Crowder’s first solo release.

In a post to his official Facebook page yesterday, Crowder explained the albums origins stating that:

‘Neon Steeple is a collection of songs and sounds looking forward to the past and counting the present as sacred. It is a search for home. It is a collection of choruses that believe this is not all there is. It is displacement and tension and the forward lean anticipating the resolution.’

(Source: CrowderMusicOfficial)

The melody, rhythm, Neon Steepletone, lyrical content and structure are all representative of Crowder’s signature vocals, theological insight and song writing abilities. All are present, even when placed outside the genius of his old band (now known as ‘The Digital Age’).

‘Neon Steeple’ delivers a pleasant, yet strange familiarity. This is not a country gospel album, yet songs like ‘Jesus is calling’, ‘This I know’ and ‘My Sweet Lord’ along with the consistent coupling of banjo and beat indicate that this album has country roots.

Highlights include ‘My Beloved’, ‘Come Alive’ and the classy bluegrass driven ‘Lift your head weary sinner (chains)‘. With track 7, ‘Hands of Love’,  Crowder sneaks in a clever fusion between the much older American Spiritual ”He’s got the whole world in his hands” with an electronic riff. Making a clear departure and return, away from and back towards the musical styles that form the backbone of this album.

Musically, ‘Neon Steeple’ is where ambition meets ability. From a ministry perspective it thunders forth, marching to a beat Crowder hears and communicates well. This is an album of melodic proclamation. It looks forward with anticipation and recollection. Calling to memory God’s fulfilment of His promise. One we come to hear, see and own in the texts which testify about Old Testament Israel and Jesus Christ.

In Crowder’s words:

‘Neon Steeple is both a critique and a hope. A narrative of  innocence lost, of displacement, of misplaced affections and misplaced people. It is the search for belonging and home and forgiveness and reconciliation, the tension of death and life leaning toward resolution, the promised land of what it means to come to life. The story is not about making bad people good, it is about making dead people alive. This is Promised Land. This is Redemption. This is Reorientation. This is Resolution.’

(Source: CrowderMusicOfficial)

As disappointing as it was to hear that the David Crowder*Band were closing a chapter on their collaboration, there are no audible creative strains that might suggest Crowder, or the Digital Age for that matter, are worse off for having parted ways.

Both have now proven without a doubt that they are the musical and liturgical heavy weights most of their admirers know them to be.

{No payment of any kind was exchanged for this review}

When it comes to improving context and expression on social media, #hashtags can empower written communication.

For example #hashtags can provide:

 sharp relief…

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Image: AdamRobertsEF, sourced from Flickr 27th May 2014

They do this by allowing improved delivery of the message. Such as providing context, enhancing dialogue and uplifting an otherwise impoverished form of expression. Hashtags allow the author and the reader to reach beyond the limitations of non-verbal, faceless communication.

However, used on their own #hashtags can be:

hashtags

Jasmine Henry, writing for ragan.com, suggests six areas of social media etiquette where businesses (and I think people in general) should use caution when wielding the might of the hashtag.

Jasmine writes:

First, beware of using ‘too many hashtags. Overuse is annoying and can be difficult to read’.

Second, be careful of the ‘irrelevant use of hashtags.’ There’s no need to hashtag every post.

Third, proper social media etiquette requires a limit of only ‘three to four words’ behind a hashtag. This allows for improved readability.

Fourth, don’t ‘over promote a self-made hashtag‘. Be careful you’re not over stating what is obvious to the reader.

Fifth, understand the mechanics behind hashtags. ‘Be considerate of the trend in order to avoid looking like you are jumping into a pre-existing conversation without having something relevant to contribute to that conversation.’

Lastly, be sure that the hashtag relates to the trend. Avoid ‘hashtag sampling, by misusing or miscalculating the contextual meaning within a hashtag trend’

The Church would do well to not overlook the usefulness, significance and potential of hashtags. Their use allows for bridge building as the hashtag mechanics can carry the message further. One outcome suggested by a hypothetical scenario might be when a person in need of encouragement lands upon a ”trend” directing them back to the Gospel, or the sender opening up opportunity for fellowship, responsible care and/or contextual mission.

Some of us might be unaware of this ”etiquette”, since a lot of people are all awkwardly still working out how to use this technology in community. I had some idea, but it wasn’t until I looked more into it that I realised the use of hashtags is actually not a bad thing.

The fuss in using hashtags appears to involve nothing more than concerns about their overuse and the uncertainly of their usefulness, significance and potential.

These are also important points here that can be made about how this relates to pastoral care and evangelism in an online mirco-blogging environment. For instance, hashtags can avoid a passive aggressive tone when presenting shared material. In a pre-emptive sense, used properly hashtags have the potential to defuse rather than ignite misgivings about the Church, the Bible and God.

As long as the mechanics are understood and not hindered by their programmers or our own poorly considered words, the hashtag allows a way for us to reinforce the context of what we are trying to say. As result we have a way to overcome the limitations of faceless-expressionless communication and the obstacle of misunderstandings unique to social media.

 

hashtag Merriam_Webster

Image: Merriam-Webster

 

Source:

Henry, J. 2012 The 6 most irritating ways to use hashtags on Twitter, sourced from ragan.com

Christian.Pray.

May 26, 2014 — 1 Comment

 

Christian. Ignite Hope.

Christian. Write.

Christian. Shine.

Christian. Unchain.

Christian. Gather.

Christian. Sever.

Christian. Bind.

Christian. Empower.

Christian. Sacrifice.

Christian. Love.

Christian. Say ”No”

Christian. Say “Yes”

Christian. Breathe.

Christian. Live.

Christian. Comment.

Christian. Eat.

Christian. Be Content.

Christian. Exercise.

Christian. Rest.

Christian. Obey.

Christian. Grow.

Christian. Go.

Christian. Listen.

Christian. Question.

Christian. Discern.

Christian. Fight.

Christian. Serve.

Christian. Repent.

Christian. Learn.

Christian. Translate.

Christian. Interpret.

Christian. Apply.

Christian. See.

Christian. Encourage.

Christian. Challenge.

Christian. Walk.

Christian. Follow.

Christian. Seek.

Christi n . Be found.

Christian. Bless.

Christian. Hear.

Christian. Heal.

Christian. Forgive.

Christian. Don’t forget.

….

 ‘The focal point of the Church’s action is the decisive activity of prayer…Because prayer is the decisive activity, prayer must take precedence…, and in no circumstances must it be suspended.’[1]

….

Christian. Pray.

[1] Barth,K. 1938 Freedom Under the Word, C.D 1.2 Hendrickson Publishers 2010 p.695
{inspired by St.Patrick’s Breastplate}

#truth

Visual Commentary

 

 

 

 

Image sourced 21st May 2014 from the:  Frontline Hobbies FB page

 

David French is veteran of the 2007 Surge in Iraq. As a guest to some graduating homeschoolers, he gives this reflection on the journey beyond graduation.

Lengthy, but worth a skim read if you have the time.

Highlight:

”Embracing our responsibilities means leading with our actions, not just our words. Your words do not make you good. Your words do not make you virtuous. Your words do not make you admirable.with a . . . hashtag. Yep, a hashtag. Or an Instagram post. Or a Facebook share.Don’t confuse speaking with doing.

There’s no shortage of Christians who wring their hands declaring, for example, that the church doesn’t do enough for widows and orphans, for the least of these. Wringing one’s hands about the church’s deficiencies — even apologizing for them to your secular friends (something that does nothing for the church but everything for you) — doesn’t put food in a single mouth.Think the church doesn’t do enough for widows and orphans? Then care for widows and orphans.

Think your generation doesn’t do enough to serve your fellow man? Then serve your fellow man.”

(David French)

Read on..{here}

 

A friend recently sent me a link to a Jim Caviezel interview, given in August of 2010 at Rock Church, San Diego.

Throughout it Caviezel discusses his reasons for working on the ‘Passion of the Christ’. He details the before and after experience, making it clear that the work was not easy.

Unfortunately he didn’t discuss his work in ‘Frequency’ (2000), Jim Caviezel_compendium ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ (2002) and ‘I am David’ (2003).

He did, however, make some pointed remarks about freedom, society, faith and politics.

For example:

 ‘We cannot continue as Christians and sit here and say, “well I’ll only be a Christian if it’s about prosperity”…’

‘…Every generation of Americans needs to know, that freedom exists not to do whatever you like, but having the right to what you ought’

{Quotes appear @ 21:50-23:34 in the video linked below}

Three things stand out.

First, Caviezel’s delivery. His tone is for the most part sombre, sometimes urgent, but appeared to be full of conviction. He is keen to proclaim a message.

Second, despite some cheesy remarks from the interviewer, who all-in-all did a great job, Caviezel stays focused on his message. He sticks to clear points of interest that suggest this is not a put on just for entertainment or publicity value.

Third, Caviezel appears to be a man of conviction, speaking about lessons learnt from difficult experiences and introspective reflection.

Despite what you might think about ‘The Passion’ Movie, Mel Gibson or Caviezel, this interview is a rare insight into the journey of an actor who, by taking up the role of Jesus in the movie, gained more than he gave up or had stripped from him.

Caviezel knows the caveats in interviews where testimony plays a major part of the content. His comments make it obvious that he has put lot of consideration into how to communicate his faith in the shadow of masked pleasantry. This is tacitly referenced to in his statement that:

‘…you don’t have go out and do a song and dance for secularists because they won’t believe – they won’t believe anyway. You can pray for them, but understand people are going to choose evil’

{Quote appears @ 22:43 in the video linked below}

I thought the interview was candid and free of theatrics. It reveals a man willing to confess his faith in Jesus Christ, in full awareness of the cost to his own financial security, professional reputation and ambition.

Seeing as how this interview was almost four years old, you may have seen it.

If not, the full 40min is worth making the time to watch it.

(Please note: the linked video contains limited footage of the crucifixion scene in the movie)

Source:

Rock Church, 2010 Events: Jim Caviezel Comes to the Rock : http://www.sdrock.com/events/7175/
Image: The Passion of the Christ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0335345/mediaindex