George Bailey and the Embrace Of Home

This year, one of my all-time favorite films turned 70. It’s a Wonderful Life has rightly earned its place as an American classic and one of Jimmy Stewart’s best roles. It gives the lie to anyone who tries to paint old Hollywood in broad, simplistic strokes, by presenting us with a likable hero who catches one bad break after another and eventually has to be pulled from the brink of suicide.

Over at The Stream, I paid tribute to the film by dusting off a film project I’ve featured here before, which combines the movie with Andrew Peterson’s song “World Traveler.” George’s story has so many layers of meaning, so many resonances, chief among them the resonance of home. In this article, I weave George’s story and the story Andrew tells in his song with some personal reflections of my own. I hope it cheers somebody this Christmas Eve. A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

[Edit: A year later I touched up and tightened this project, and I am pleased to present that version here now.]


The Faith of Ronald Reagan

A couple of months ago, I was inspired to dig into Ronald Reagan’s personal diary, which he kept almost daily during all eight years of his presidency. It’s a fascinating chronicle of the great and small, dull and momentous moments that make up the life of a president. It also gives real insight into Reagan’s character and personality. We get a vivid sense of his quick wit, his canniness, and his utterly sincere love for the American people. We also get a sense of his faith, sometimes in quiet, small ways that would never make it onto a Wikipedia page.

By coincidence, Summit Ministries told me they were thinking about putting together some profiles of Christian leaders. So, I’ve kicked it off with this article, which you can now read here. In it, I share some stories about Reagan’s faith and character that you might not have heard before. I hope you enjoy it!

My Take on the Mizzou/Yale Protests

Here’s my latest article for Summit Ministries. I wlas asked to tackle the wave of protests sparked by student demonstrations at Missouri and Yale. So, considering my audience carefully, I decided to center the piece around Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but I used it to undercut how the black students in these schools are behaving. It was a challenge to report honestly on something so depressing while still fulfilling Summit’s request that I leave off on a hopeful note for pastors and churchgoers seeking how best to bridge the racial divide. In truth, I confessed that I have no grand solutions, and indeed, I believe there are none. But, hopefully I succeeded in achieving something of a balance while still refusing to bow to the beast of political correctness. Kudos to Summit for their willingness to run a piece on this topic with an edge to it.

Meanwhile, if any of you were waiting with bated breath on the philosophers vs. welders article, the attacks in Paris obviously pushed that down in the scheduling, but I’ve been told to keep it in my back pocket for another week. (My friend Hannah covered Paris for Summit, and you can read her article here.)

Browse New Fanny Crosby Lyrics Free

I mentioned the other month that various artists were setting some of Fanny Crosby’s unpublished hymns to music and releasing them in a compilation project. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound contributed one of the tracks, and the entire album is available from their site. Not only that, but even if you’re not sure you want to buy the album, you can still go here and read all the lyrics for free, which is the most interesting part for me. It looks like a few of them had little bridges or refrains added in by the recording artists. Looking them over, which are your favorites? Which do you think are possibly second-tier or less than Crosby’s best?

From the Vault: The Booth Brothers, “Watercolor Ponies”

Another classic performance from the Booth Brothers. I learned something interesting from my blogging friend Brian Fuson about some numbers like this which I had thought were simply one-offs for this concert. He told me that some of the songs actually were going to be recorded in the studio and put on an album, but the project was scrapped. I wonder if they included this Wayne Watson tune. The harmonies are certainly haunting. (Note Michael’s wife Vicki getting misty-eyed toward the end!)

From the Vault: The Booth Brothers, “While Ages Roll”

[OT editor’s note: Scheduled posts will continue going up regularly for the next couple weeks, but my Internet access will be very limited, so if you’re new and you leave a comment, I may be delayed in approving it. Thanks for understanding!]

This is one song that the Brothers have fortunately brought back, on their special quartet project with Gene McDonald. It’s a great one by Mosie Lister, though somewhat less well known than classics like “Til the Storm Passes By” or “Where No One Stands Alone.” Proof that when you get a really solid songwriter, digging deeper into their catalog only turns up more gems, not toss-offs.

By the way, congrats to the Booth Brothers for being invited to appear on the Grand Ole Opry today! I hope the video finds its way to Youtube or some other streaming platform.

NQC 2013 Tuesday Evening Hourly Schedule

Here’s a look at tonight’s schedule, and I’m not going to type the times all out but you have a general idea of how long a set it, so here are the names IN ORDER. Meanwhile, perhaps someone else who bought the webcast can do me a favor and look into where the video on demand page is. Thank you!

Fan Cam
Singalong with Dean Hopper
Karen Peck & New River
Collingsworth Instrumental
Penny Loafers
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Dixie Melody Boys
Legacy Five
Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Jeff & Sheri Easter
Tribute Quartet
Gold City
Kingdom Heirs
Jason Crabb

Happy Easter!

I hope the sun is shining brightly wherever you may be celebrating your Easter Morning. Sadly, for us it is a cloudy drizzle, (but we trust that the Easter bunny is equipped with a raincoat so that he can still deliver his wares).

Rejoice and be glad! Christ is risen!

Met Jeff Taylor In the Flesh Last Night…

Well. My weekend just got way cooler. On Saturday I saw Keith and Kristyn Getty in concert with a live band and mass choir. Suffice it to say, you would have had to be blind and deaf not to enjoy yourself thoroughly. The quality of music was absolutely top-notch. And among the band musicians, who should I see but Jeff Taylor!

But wait, it gets better. Afterwards, he and two of the other (fantabulphenomelomenal) musicians came out and did a casual jam session in the reception room, up-close and personal. I caught video of two performances which I hope to post on Godtube (unfortunately we’re having camera issues which I hope we can resolve—there’s something hogging the battery). I even got to chat a little with him about Kevin Williams’ _Acoustic Sunday_.

So next week I hope to meet Buddy and Kevin, because… I’m going to a Gaither Homecoming concert this Friday! That’s right. Pray that we’ll resolve camera issues BEFORE then.