Open Thread (11/29)

Sorry for my lack of posting this week. I’ve been working on a whole bunch of things, but haven’t finished any one single post. I have a couple new series in the works, and I also want to (gradually!) ease into some Christmas posting. But I should probably postpone most of that until after finals, which will be in the week of December 10th. So don’t be surprised if I take a little hiatus here. I don’t think I’ll completely lay off posting until then (for one thing I’ve got a stand-alone piece I’m very excited about that I probably won’t be able to keep from writing when I get a few spare moments), but I won’t post as frequently. Meanwhile… what do you want to talk about? I notice, among other things, that Zig Ziglar passed away this week. I know that he had a great impact for Christianity and was close friends with the Booth Brothers among many others. If you’ve been touched in some way by his legacy, feel free to share in the comments.


Casablanca Turns 70

The greatest American film ever made turns 70 today. Here’s looking at you, Casablanca.

“Play it once, Sam. For old time’s sake.”

“I don’t know what you mean Miss Ilsa.”

“Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.'”

Concert Review: Greater Vision in Kalamazoo, MI

[Note: I know, I forgot to put up a humor clip this morning. See, my brain was on hold yesterday, so I scheduled this post instead without thinking. Sorry about that!]

I had the opportunity to see Greater Vision in concert for the first time a couple weeks ago. It was wonderful to meet all the guys and chat in between the songs. I made several purchases, including the Lari Goss Tribute DVD (which I’ll review if nobody else does, because it’s awesome), and their Hymns of the Ages album with Chris’s vocals. I also brought home some GV Christmas music in anticipation of December. No, in case you’re wondering, I haven’t started listening to it yet—not one of those day-after-Thanksgiving types when it comes to Christmas music, but probably somewhere around the beginning of next month I’ll start breaking it out. Only thing is I need to take other stuff off my ipod to make room, because I just have a lowly 7.5 gig affair. Anyway, enough rambling about my ipod. Here are some highlights from the concert, plus a slideshow. Even though we weren’t allowed to use flash, my seat was so fantastic I got some nice shots anyway. Continue reading “Concert Review: Greater Vision in Kalamazoo, MI”

The Hardest Part of a Song to Write

What’s the hardest part of a song to write, assuming you’re not a genius who can make up an entire song in three minutes (which is most of us)?

For my money, it’s the second verse. The chorus usually comes to you in your first blast of inspiration, so that’s the easiest part. After that the first verse, because you’re all full of things to say that build off of the chorus. Then a bridge is no big deal (if you need one), because you basically don’t need to do any more than come up with a short lyrical idea and put a key change on the end.

But the second verse can be surprisingly hard. Unless you’re writing one of those super-formulaic story-songs (highschool prom, married life, nursing home, done—love ya Mark Schultz), it can sometimes feel like you used up all your good ideas in the first verse and now you’re stuck. “Wait, you mean I have to come up with more than one new thought because unlike the bridge this is still verse-length?”

I’ve lost count of the number of partially finished songs I have floating around just because I haven’t found the time or the discipline to write that second verse. Even though it doesn’t even have to be as long as the first verse (most second verses aren’t).

Is there anyone who’d like to share his thoughts on this? I know I have songwriter friends who read, mostly lurkers (one I didn’t even know I had until she left a solitary negative comment—ain’t that how it is). You guys know you’re welcome to chime in at any time.

Legacy Five to be Featured on Upcoming Garms Family CD

The Garms Family announced in their latest e-mail newsletter that the Little Adventurers’ upcoming project Out Front: Featuring Sam, Jayme, and Caleb Garms will feature a very special guest quartet: Legacy Five! They are singing backup vocals for Caleb on “I’m Feeling Fine.” If by chance you missed the video of Caleb’s performance that was going around the interwebs some time ago, this will give you a taste of what the studio version should sound like:

Veterans’ Day Song Compilation

In memory of our veterans, I’ve compiled a list of appropriate songs from artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, Mark Schultz and Five for Fighting. Some of them are music videos while others are simply photo compilations. For most of these I’ll simply provide a link to a Youtube video, but I picked one video to embed/feature, because the combination of images, footage and music is so fantastic. Someone put this together to Michael W. Smith’s instrumental tribute “Heroes” (I suggest using full-screen):

Continue reading “Veterans’ Day Song Compilation”

Conservative or Republican? Where We Go From Here

The Republican party is at a crossroads right now. They can choose to respond to Obama’s victory in one of two ways: Move (even more) to the left in a desperate bid to appear more moderate and therefore more “electable” (supposedly), or stand their ground. Actually, I suppose there is a third option, which would be to retrace their steps and move back to the right, but wait, wait, I think I see a pig flying!

Unfortunately, I think what we can look for is the former, because history tends to repeat itself, and this is the pattern we’ve seen over and over again ever since Clinton. Denny Burk, it turns out, shares my opinion, and he has a real “Amen” post on this topic that includes a warning for social conservatives: We may one day need to acknowledge that we didn’t leave the Republican party. They left us. I quote:

The traditional Republican coalition of social, fiscal, and foreign policy conservatives may be about to shift. We may very well be approaching an era in which no major political party supports the sanctity of marriage. And it may not be too long before the GOP jettisons life too.

All of this means that Evangelicals who care about life, marriage, and religious liberty are going to sound more and more like the voice of one crying in the wilderness. We may find ourselves maintaining our cause with no major political party representing that cause. The pressure will grow for us to abandon what the Bible says about protecting life and marriage, but we cannot and must not budge. We will have to be the loyal opposition to a president who in every way has been wrong on these issues. And we may have to be the loyal opposition to another political party poised to embrace gay marriage rights. Continue reading “Conservative or Republican? Where We Go From Here”

We Shall Conquer Though We Die

The thoughts and sermon clips contained in this post may not, on the surface, seem particularly cheering or comforting in the wake of our commander-in-chief’s reelection last night. They may even strike some as grim or despairing. However, I submit that “grim” is one thing, but despairing is another. Truth is often harsh and grim. But we are commanded never to despair. For out of the ashes, beauty rises. And out of great evil comes great glory. Continue reading “We Shall Conquer Though We Die”