Coming Soon: Vintage Booth Brothers Music

I’ve obtained permission from Michael Booth to post some vintage Booth Brothers music that’s no longer available at any retail outlets. This includes two DVD projects that I was sad to see the Brothers pull from the store, since I think they represent some of the group’s best work with Jim Brady. Over the next week, I will be adding some video performances you may never have seen unless you snapped up a copy of one of the DVDs when you had the chance.

Other Youtubers have posted a few highlights, but some of the very best (in my opinion) haven’t seen the light of the day. What’s especially neat about the project Live in Lakeland is that it includes bonus material that was cut from the accompanying CD. So while you fortunately CAN still buy a digital download of the audio project from the Brothers’ own store (and I recommend that you do), you won’t hear some of these performances at all except on the video.

I have only uploaded one video so far, but it’s a goodie: “Just Beyond the River Jordan,” featuring Jim Brady and co-written by him and his wife. Stay tuned for more treasures from the vault!

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The Enduring Power of Hymns

Much ink has been spilled over the worrying statistical reality that millennials are leaving their parents’ churches, and a lot of them don’t make a return appearance. Mega-church strategists everywhere are no doubt feverishly putting their heads together to figure out how this can still be happening (even after they installed that sick light show and put all their youth pastors in skinny jeans!) Some of these discussions are probably revolving around worship music. Maybe (some of them are still wanly hoping), we can keep tweaking our music formula until it’s so cool our kids will never want to leave, cause they just gotta have their weekly dose of worship band.

Of course, you know and I know that if anything, the mega-church strategists’ fever dreams are part of the problem, not the solution. I propose that this is because with all their bumbling good intentions, they fail to see there’s something fundamentally transient about turning church into a product. They’re hoping to keep kids in church by breathlessly trying to keep up with the latest trends in pop music, culture, etc. But kids don’t need a fad. They need a foundation.

That foundation should take a number of different forms: doctrinal, apologetic, and even musical. One of the most shameful gaps in the foundation for many of our young people is a firm grounding in how to defend their own faith, but that’s a discussion topic for another day. Today, I want to talk about building a musical foundation for our young people. In particular, I want to focus on the enduring power of hymns. 

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Grooveshark Goes Dark

Some of you might be familiar with a music streaming website known as Grooveshark. With the rise of officially sanctioned outlets like Soundcloud, Spotify, Google Play, and now even Youtube, Grooveshark has passed its usefulness, and judging by their recent farewell letter, they’ve run afoul of some big music companies in the process. This apparently wasn’t just one of those situations where an isolated few artists get grumpy and ask that their music be taken down. It was serious enough that the only way Grooveshark could settle was by wiping the site entirely.

I knew it was just a matter of time, but I won’t miss it too much since there are so many more options now. Although, the open source nature of the site made it unique in that people would sometimes upload rarities from their private collections. For example, I found limited edition live releases from a couple favorite artists that aren’t digitally available on these other sites. Sadly, a good deal of OOP gospel music has also been lost this way. (But don’t worry, I plan on doing something about that.)

The reason I’m mentioning the news here is that in past posts, I’ve embedded some Grooveshark songs and playlists when a song wasn’t on Youtube. I bet I could replace most of those with Youtube embeds now, but I don’t relish the thought of picking my way through the archives to find broken links. I won’t foist that task on my readers, but I would humbly ask that if you should be spontaneously moved to check out old posts (maybe under “Songs?”), and you chance upon a broken Grooveshark link, please leave a note so that I’ll know something needs to be replaced. Thanks!

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And the Newest Member of Signature Sound Is…

Dustin Doyle, formerly of Beyond the Ashes. In this video, Ernie talks about Dustin’s qualifications and says he came highly recommended both by Anthony Facello and Doug Anderson. I especially enjoyed hearing Ernie talk about the audition process (and there’s more than talk too if you keep watching!) Another interesting fact is that Doyle is an accomplished guitarist, so Ernie is getting a twofer by hiring him—vocalist and band member! July 15th will mark his first date on the bus.

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A Few Thoughts on the Duggar Debacle

[05/29: Comments on this topic are closed.]

Well, I had determined not to say anything about this mess, but after I read one particular Patheos article about it, it did occur to me that I had something to say. I’ll try to limit this to the specific points I want to make, though I realize how tempting it is to render a verdict on the situation as a whole. I do have my opinions, and I suppose you can read between the lines and put together what I think. But my intention is not to open up a whole can of worms about abuse issues writ large.

(In case you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what I’m referring to, the Duggar Family’s 19 Kids and Counting show may be canceled in the wake of the reveal that son Josh Duggar fondled his sisters inappropriately at the age of 14. As you can see on the right, Josh is now a grown man with his own wife and family.)

So, with that in mind, I want to come down really hard on a few points made in this response piece. Specifically, I want to focus on how the writer uses the Duggar case to criticize homeschooling in general. While she doesn’t come right out and gloat, “See, I knew you should just send your kids to school like everyone else!” it’s implicit in the whole thrust of the article. She makes these points in bold:

Good sex education is very important.

Sheltering children from the world doesn’t work.

Homeschooling can limit children’s ability to report abuse.

Okay. Let’s dismantle this piece by piece.

*cracks knuckles*

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Memorial Day: Where We Left Off

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Poll: How do you read?

The explosion of mobile devices has re-shaped how websites everywhere are designed. As more people read articles on progressively smaller screens, designers are accommodating them and making content more readily accessible at the touch of a finger. While I don’t anticipate making any earth-shattering changes to my little blog, I am curious to know how my readers are viewing it. So here’s a small poll:

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Andy Stanley’s Disturbing Leftward Spiral

I’ve been catching myself up on Pastor Andy Stanley’s recent comments regarding the issue of homosexuality. They’ve created a little stir in liberal media circles, who are triumphantly running pieces that contrast Andy’s more relaxed approach with Stanley Sr.’s hard-line rhetoric. Andy Stanley has a wide following, particularly in the South, and so far he’s managed to tiptoe around hot-button social issues without saying something outright heretical that would alienate his fan-base. (This fan-base includes a number of relatively conservative Christians, including readers of this very site, and it clearly includes the same kind of people who attend Gaither events, since Gaither has invited him on their latest cruise.) While not all the remarks being quoted on leftist sites are taken from the same context, it’s not hard for us to look at the individual pieces and notice a leftward drift that should concern Christians who follow Stanley Jr.’s ministry. I’ve already mentioned his remarks in a USA Today piece dissing the Kansas religious freedom bill, where he said that he found it  “offensive that Christians would leverage faith to support the Kansas law” and continued, “Serving people we don’t see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity. Jesus died for a world with which he didn’t see eye to eye. If a bakery doesn’t want to sell its products to a gay couple, it’s their business. Literally. But leave Jesus out of it.”

Most recently, he gave an address to young church leaders in April in which he set up a list of three things that he “wishes would change for the local church in our generation.”

1. The local church should be the safest place on the planet for students to talk about anything, including same-sex attraction.

2. The church must stop expecting outsiders to act like insiders while insiders act like outsiders.

3. The church must capture and keep the hearts and minds of students.

You can probably tell already that there are a lot of directions he could go with all of these points, and some of them are not good at all. And you’d be right.

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Monday Morning Humor: No Frills Airline

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Christians in Entertainment: Denzel Washington

‘Tis the season for pretentious, overly long commencement speeches. But one commencement speech has been getting particular attention in the media recently: Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington’s address to the graduates of Dillard University. Dillard is a small, private school for black students in New Orleans. When Washington stepped to the podium, he announced that he was going to “keep it short,” unlike his commencement speaker, who “went on forever, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…” (Yes, this is pretty much spot-on. I speak from experience.)

Here is the short, simple message Washington wanted to convey: “Number one: Put. God. First. In everything you do, put God first. Put God first in everything you do. Everything you think you see in me, everything I’ve accomplished, everything you think I have (and I have a few things), everything that I have is by the grace of God.”

The speech has gone viral. There’s some unfortunate prosperity gospel business towards the end, but on the whole it’s pretty great, and you can read more quotes here, or watch it in full here if you don’t mind handheld video. The passion and conviction of Washington’s delivery is disarming, considering his stature in Hollywood. But then, Washington has never been one to shy away from talking about what he believes.

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