The Weekly Town Crier

March 22, 2013 at 11:02 am

65025Well hello there. How are you? Oh, me? I’m OK, thanks. I’m really enjoying this symbiotic relationship that we’ve developed. I hope you like it too. Welcome to the Weekly Town Crier, where I pass along links that I’ve found interesting in one way or another throughout the week and I pass them along to you. Some of them will interest you more than others and that’s OK. I’m OK. You’re OK. We’re all OK. Now, browse, OK?!

Be my Facebook friend. It’s not real until it’s on Facebook.

Follow my Twitterings.

Browse the music I’ve been listening to.

Stay tuned to the Habañero Collective events page for house show upcomings or check out out new concert-only website, Habañero Shows.

Take a Tumbl with me.

Read as the New York Times considers how beer gave us civilization.

Read as the New York Times considers living with less: “A Lot Less.”

Read “Relevant’s” piece on Marcus Mumford, of Mumford and Sons,It’s OK To Call Yourself A Christian.”

Read “How We Made It: Greg Koch and Steve Wagner,” from the founders of Stone Brewing.

Read about how to build your own amplifying dock for your i-Thingy.

Read about great growth for the U.S. craft beer market.

Read Bobby Gilles’ piece “Why Indie Bands & Singer-Songwriters Can’t Ignore Business & Marketing.”

Read CNet‘s piece “Five big tech stories to watch for in 2013.”

R.I.P. Jason Molina of Magnolia Electric Co. and Songs: Ohia.

Read IFC’s piece: “Sam Raimi’s producer reveals “Evil Dead 4” is actually “Army of Darkness 2.”

Read about Rob Bell openly endorsing “marriage equality.”

Read about Jimmy Fallon replacing Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show.

Browse as Paste chronicles the 25 best acts they caught at SXSW.

Listen to a rare rehearsal tape from The Smiths.

Browse the Phoenix New Times‘ list of the coolest AZ celebrities (not that that’s saying much).

Read about Michelle Shocked‘s anti-gay tirade and the ensuing backlash.

Read this piece about why the Calvary Chapel movement keeps producing Calvinists. What are your thoughts on this?

Gospel Motivation: Gratitude Fueled Obedience (“Shouldn’t or Needn’t?)

March 18, 2013 at 8:08 am

Anglesey, Menai Bridge, St Anne's Catholic Church CrossOne of the phrases we use in the Church of the Cross family (borrowed from Jeff Vanderstelt) is “gospel fluency.” The idea isn’t new, but it has been important in the spiritual growth and development of many in our church family.

You know you’ve become fluent in a language when you no longer have to stop and translate in your mind. The language becomes natural and normal. You think in that language. What might change in our lives, and in our churches if we were “fluent” in the Gospel, the good news of who Jesus is and what He has done. What if we learned to speak/apply the Gospel to one another’s lives “in and out of season” and in all situations? As a Pastor, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that 85-90% of the Pastoral Counseling I do would go away. It would already be taken care of. Our church family would say to one another the things that I’m going to say to them anyways.

I think this is at the heart of what Paul means in Ephesians 4 when he says that we should “speak the truth to one another in love (v.15).” I think that this “speaking the truth to one another in love” is the “work of the ministry” that the saints are to be equipped for; applying the Gospel to our own and one another’s lives, learning to filter everything through the lens of who Jesus is and what He has done.

The Gospel, of course, is more than just getting our souls into heaven when we die. It is even more than (certainly not less than, but also certainly more than) substitutionary atonement (also see here and here). The Christian life is about becoming more and more immersed in these truths, being drawn closer to Jesus, becoming more dependent on Him, learning to listen to and depend on the Spirit in all of life. As Tim Keller might word it, the Gospel changed our motivational structures; why we do the things we do. This change, of course, rarely comes overnight, but it does happen for believers.

This is a crucial thing for followers of Jesus to consider. Why should we say no to sin? Why should we fight temptation? Our initial reaction to temptation and sin is that we shouldn’t. We shouldn’t choose sin. And, while this is technically true, if I tell a child that they shouldn’t touch the touch . . . well, you know. But, we all know from failed diet attempts and tries at life-reform that the best way to fight temptation is not with rules. It’s not by forcing ourselves to believe that we simply shouldn’t do something. Even if that’s true.

The best way to fight temptation is with a greater pleasure. If you have something that gives you greater pleasure, you won’t give in to temptation, not because you shouldn’t but because you don’t need to. Truth be told; we don’t love Jesus as much as we like to say we do. I realize that sounds harsh. I realize that many of us are arguing that point; I love Jesus more than anything else! And while we want this sentiment to be true, our lack of allegiance to Him betrays the fact that there are still things we believe will give us more pleasure/fulfillment/identity/security than Jesus. But false gods will never fail to fail us.

The problem has been keenly pinpointed by C.S. Lewis in his 1949 essay The Weight of Glory:”

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

The Gospel motivates us not with “shouldn’t” but “needn’t.” We no longer need to chase after the things we once did because we have found deeper, truer pleasure/fulfillment/identity/security.

In his book One Thing, Sam Storms recounts the story of Jason and the Island of the Sirens. At one point, Odysseus knows that he must pass the island of the sirens. So he instructs his crew to plug their ears and then chains himself to the mast. He wanted to hear the song for himself. Had it not been for the chains holding him in place, his heart would have chased the sirens’ beautiful destruction. For many of us, our fight against sin is nothing more than those chains. It doesn’t nothing about our heart’s affections, just our external behaviors.

Yet, Jason also had to pass the island of the sirens. However, he took a different approach. Jason hired Orpheus, who was known to play the lyre so beautifully that it dimmed everything else. Jason and his crew didn’t even hear the sirens. Both men may have technically “beaten” the sirens, but Odysseus fought with “shouldn’t” and Jason fought with “needn’t.”

I wonder how many of us, when faced with temptation to sin actually fight it by saying that we don’t need to do that, or primarily that we “shouldn’t?” Which has been more powerful in your own life?


The Power Of Introverts

March 17, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Live AZ Music At The Crescent Ballroom This Saturday

March 14, 2013 at 3:19 pm


I hope you can make it out to the Crescent Ballroom this Saturday night to support my friend Shawn Skinner as he opens up for The Cold Desert and others.

  • More information here.

TONIGHT! Habañero Collective Presents A House Show With Jenny & Tyler

March 14, 2013 at 10:32 am



Here is the band performing “Fear Thou Not:”


  • More information here

The Weekly Town Crier

March 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

TYJ-Town-Crier-D6920Who do you think you are, barging in here like that?! This is my little corner of the Interwebs. Oh, wait, it’s a blog, which means that I (at least implicitly) invited you here. Well then, welcome. How are you? Pull up some pixels and make yourself at h0me.

Welcome to The Weekly Town Crier, where I pass on to you, links that I have collected throughout the week. For one reason or another, I found them interesting enough to pass along. You may or may not find them as interesting as I initially did (that’s not really my concern). I hope you enjoy. Or don’t, that’s not really my concern.

Be my Facebook friend. It’s not real until it’s on Facebook.

Follow my Twitterings.

Browse the music I’ve been listening to.

Stay tuned to the Habañero Collective events page for house show upcomings.

Take a Tumbl with me.

Read about Mark Labberton being named President of Fuller Seminary.

Read about the English Boxer who showed up in-person to deal with a Twitter abuser.

Browse 22 lessons in story-telling from Pixar.

Read about Iron Maiden releasing its own official beer.

Read about Patty Griffin‘s new album.

Read “Why the New Facebook News Feed is (Maybe) Good News for Advertisers” by Jake Johnson for Baji.

Read about Phish‘s Summer 2013 tour.

Read as The Washington Times profiles Stone Brewing’s wonderful “Enjoy By” IPA series.

Watch as Steve Reich discusses his influences.

Read the NY Times’ interview with Willie Nelson.

Read Rolling Stone’s Morrissey‘s 15 Most Outrageous Quotes.”

Read as Stereogum ranks the Rolling Stones’ albums from worst to best. What do you think of their list?

Read as The Guardian considers using Twitter for self-promotion.

Browse Flavorwire’s collection of covers for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Browse as Paste makes their pics of bands to see at SXSW.

Browse as Spin makes their SXSW picks.

Watch Matthew E. White talk about Richmond, VA, Spacebomb, and my favorite album of last yearBig Inner.

Couch x Couchwest, for those of us who couldn’t make it to SXSW.

Read as The Age interviews Wilco‘s Jeff Tweedy about “modern music.”

Read about the discover of the “Higgs boson,” the so-called “god-particle.”

Book Recommendations (Culture Edition)

March 13, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I recently had the privilege of writing a piece for Gospel Centered Discipleship about why we (Habañero Collective) host house shows (literally, concerts in our living rooms). One of the reasons is that, as Christians, we believe that culture is extremely important. It’s not my intent to go in to a fuller discussion of why that is at this point (if that’s something you’re interested in hearing, just ask).

Instead, I was contacted by a couple of people asking for further resources on the issue of Christianity and culture. So, in no particular order, are some of the books that have been helpful for me over the years. That’s not to say I entirely agree with everything in all of these books, but isn’t that part of the beauty of reading widely? Even if we don’t fully agree, we are sharpened when we engage with people of the same faith who have a different perspective.

If you’d like to know thoughts on a particular author or work, don’t hesitate to ask. This is in no way a comprehensive, or even ordered list; just some of the first recommendations that came to mind and I just wanted to pass along these resources before I forgot: