the Weekly Town Crier

towncrierAnd there you go. Just like sand in the hourglass, like waters under a troubled bridge, like the sound of silence. Another week gone by. And what do you have to show for it? Did you help someone this week? Did you do your part to make the world a better place or did you just complain? Did you encourage someone? Bear their burden? Come on now. What’s your problem? Get out there and do some good. Cultivate thanksgiving and let it fuel a life of blessing.

In the meantime, here’s a bunch of links you might or might not find interesting.

R.I.P. Patty Duke.

R.I.PGato Barbieri.

R.I.P. Merle Haggard.

Read Brooklyn Vegan‘s piece: “cult ’80s series ‘Night Flight’ is back as a streaming channel Read More: cult ’80s series ‘Night Flight’ is back as a streaming channel.”

Watch Spike Lee Interview Bernie Sanders.

Read as PopMatters considers the troubled legacy of the Replacements, profiled in Bob Mehr’s book Trouble Boys.

Read as Sojourners considers what happens “When Religion Makes People Worse”.

Read reports that Ron Perlman is confirmed to play Tom Waits in the upcoming biopic by David Lynch.

Read as Ozy considers “The Invention of the ‘American Dream'”.

Read AV Club‘s report that the Animaniacs are now on Netflix.

Read Pitchfork‘s report: “Here’s Why Musicians Won’t Stand for Illegal Uploads Anymore”.

Browse Tom Waits’ top 20 albums.

Read Uncut‘s report: “Keith Richards criticises modern artists for not writing their own music”.

Read The Guardian‘s profile of Richard Fariña, “lost genius who bridged the gap between beats and hippies”.

Browse The Brewer’s Associations‘s list of the U.S.’ ” top 50 breweries for 2015″.

Listen to NPR Music’s piece: “How A Stressful Night For Miles Davis Spawned Two Classic Albums”.

Read Paste‘s report: “John Oliver’s “Donald Drumpf” Segment Broke Every HBO Viewing Record”.

Read “An Interview with case/lang/veirs“.

Ever wonder “‘How Did This Song Get In That Commercial?’ NPR has your answer.

Browse Rolling Stone‘s picks for the 100 greatest drummers of all time.

Read Gizmodo’s report on the recent study finding that “People Who Point Out Typos Are Jerks”.

Read Okay Player‘s report that A Tribe Called Quest was working on a new album at the time of Phife Dawg‘s passing.

Listen to NPR Music’s tribute to the Stratocaster.

Browse Paste‘s list of “The 100 Best Movies on Netflix (April 2016)”.

Read NPR’s review of Don Cheadle‘s new Miles Davis biopic, Miles Ahead.

  • Read Paste‘s piece on the movie.

BrowseNeil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing” at Brain Pickings.

Browse Men’s Journal‘s picks for “The 101 Best Beers in America”.

Read The Guardian‘s profile of Shuggie Otis: ‘I could have been a millionaire, but that wasn’t on my mind’.

Read/Listen to NPR’s piece: “Alan Lomax‘s Massive Archive Goes Online”.

Read Fact‘s report that Fugazi has returned with a 5-song EP commenting on the “horrorshow” of our presidential election.

Read as the AV Club wonders: “Can the new wave of faith-based filmmaking transcend propaganda?”

Read Reuters‘ piece: “Tesla says Model 3 orders top $10 billion in first 36 hours”.

Read The Atlantic‘s “Case Against High-School Sports”.

Read as The New York Times investigates “the Minds of Mass Killers”.

Take a peek at 15 of the world’s most exquisite libraries” at CNN.

Read: “Beverly Cleary on turning 100: Kids today ‘don’t have the freedom’ I had” at the Washington Post.

Read as The Atlantic argues: “Liberal arts and the humanities aren’t just for the elite.”

Read Christianity Today‘s piece: “More Americans Agree Christians Face Intolerance But Complain Too Much About It,” arguing; “tone matters when advocating for religious liberty.”

Read as The New York Times considers the revival of PBR.

Read as The Atlantic considers “The Importance of Eating Together”.

Browse Flavorwire‘s picks for “The 10 Albums You Need to Hear in April”.

Read as Atlas Obscura considers “The Doomed Effort to Make Videos Go Vinyl”.

Read Rolling Stone‘s report that the Rolling Stones will release a new album this year.

Read as PopMatters considers Jon StewartThe Daily Show and “the Rise of Media Accountability”.

Spreadable Beer. Because.

Read the Art of Manliness‘ list of “9 Things a Grown Man Can Learn From the Hardy Boys“.

Read Slate‘s report: “After Seven Long Years, There’s a New Answering Machine Tape on Homestar Runner”.

Read Uncut‘s reflection on “Miles Davis, Hank Williams and the current crop of music biopics”.

Read FACT‘s report: “Bandcamp has made $150M in artist profits in the last eight years”.

Read a report finding “People Who Point Out Grammatical Errors Are JERKS, Says Science”.

the Weekly Town Crier

towncrierAnd here we are yet again. Blah, blah, blah. Yada, Yada, Yada. Holiday-whoo-bee-whattey.

passes them along to you for your interest.

Buy my art here or here or contact me directly to purchase originals.

Browse Large Hearted Boy‘s list of “100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads.”

Listen to a mix of some of my favorite songs released in 2015.

Browse my 42 favorite albums of 2015.

Download a three-volume mix of Jesusy songs I collected.

R.I.P. Gary Shandling.

R.I.P. baseball legend Joe Garagiola.

R.I.P. actor Ken Howard.

R.I.P. rapper Phife Dawg, of A Tribe Called Quest.

Read Consequence of Sound‘s report: “Paul McCartney is re-acquiring The Beatles’ catalog”.

Browse “Relevant”‘s picks for “11 Contemporary Authors Every Christian Should Read”. What do you think of their picks.

Read Glide‘s review of the Miles Davis biopic and interview with Don Cheadle, the man behind it all.

Look Into the Eyes of Refugee Children” at National Geographic.

Browse uDiscover‘s picks for “20 Great Books About Jazz”.

Read Paste‘s report about Amazon time-warping Doctor Who away from Netflix.

Read The Guardian‘s interview with reggae/dub legend Lee “Scratch” Perry on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

Read The CreatorProject’s report that “Studio Ghibli‘s Animation Software Is Now Free”.

the Weekly Town Crier

towncrierWell hi there. How are you? How’s your week been? was it a good week or a bad week? Was it a busy week or a slow week. Did your week leave you feeling weak?

Well have no fear, the Weekly Town Crier is here to inform you on all of the things about which you are ill informed. Or maybe he just collects links of interest and passes them along to you for your interest.

Buy my art here or here or contact me directly to purchase originals.

Browse Large Hearted Boy‘s list of “100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads.”

Listen to a mix of some of my favorite songs released in 2015.

Browse my 42 favorite albums of 2015.

Download a three-volume mix of Jesusy songs I collected.

R.I.P. Louis Meyers, co-founder of SXSW.

R.I.P. Marco Rubio’s presidential bid.

Read Christianity Today‘s piece: “Israeli Christians Think and Do Almost the Opposite of American Evangelicals”.

Read about the Florida Sheriff who has pledged “to arrest CEO Tim Cook if Apple resists crypto cooperation”.

Read as Consequence of Sound considers the legacy of MTV’s 120 Minutes. Remember when the Music Television Network actually thought music mattered?

Read as jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb reflects on the making of some of Miles Davis‘ greatest albums at Uncut magazine.

Read as Paste magazine talks with a proponent of the flat earth theory.

Read as Flavorwire profiles Obama’s SXSW role this year.

Read as Peter Capaldi criticizes their BBC for neglecting Doctor Who.

Read as Damien Jurado talks with Paste and opens up about battle with depression: “I Went from the Light Really Into the Black.”

Read as Salon reports that the estate of Harper Lee has begun actions to cease the publication of the (rightly) ubiquitous mass market paperback edition of To Kill A Mocking bird.

Read Consequence of Sound‘s report that the Eagles are breaking up.

Read Brain Pickings‘ piece: “Neil Gaiman on How Stories Last”.

  • Read as The Guardian considers “Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: maybe a film adaptation just isn’t meant to be”.

Read as The Atlantic considers: “The Trader Joe‘s Lesson: How to Pay a Living Wage and Still Make Money in Retail”.

Read Uncrate‘s report that AC/DC is canceling the remainder of their tour dates as Brian Johnson faces total hearing loss.

Read as The Daily Beast profiles “The Stupidly Simple Spy Messages No Computer Could Decode”.

Read as Ars Technica reports: “Google AI goes 3-0, wins Go match against Lee Se-dol”.

Read as On The Media argues: “Why The Publishing Industry Isn’t In Peril”.

Read as Bryan Cranston tells The Advocate that he’d love to star in a Malcom in the Middle reunion.

Browse “The Scariest Urban Legend From Every State” at Thought Catalog.

Read about the “New company offering same-day in-home releases of new films”from Napster founder Sean Parker which has received the “backing of Abrams, Spielberg.”

Read Techly‘s report that “In Switzerland, It’s Illegal To Own Just One Guinea Pig Because They’re Prone To Loneliness”.

Browse Fast Company‘s list of “7 Interview Questions For Measuring Emotional Intelligence”.

Read Damn Interesting‘s profile of Colonel Sanders.

Crank Out Infinite Geometric Designs With The Wooden Cycloid Drawing Machine” at Colassal. 

Read Brooklyn Vegan‘s piece about an increasing problem: homeowners move into areas with (already) existing music venues and then make noise complaints, and win.

Read “Relevant”‘s report that Hillsong is getting its own television network.

Read reports that Christian celebrity speaker Mark Driscoll will launch his new speaking platform here in AZ on Easter Sunday.

Read The Observer‘s profile of Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motel Band on the release of their magnificent double album The Rarity of Experience. Forsyth discusses the influence of R.E.M, Television, the Dead and wonders on his Facebook page of the interview: “I talked a lot about why the Solar Motel Band is actually jazz band in flannel or something.”

  • Read Pitchfork‘s review of the album: “Solar Motel Band leader Chris Forsyth strikes a near-perfect balance between ’70s rock tradition and present-day experimentation with his signature guitar tone.”

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Reading, Listening, Watching, etc.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 2.05.42 PMWelcome to this week’s installment of “Reading, Listening, Watching, etc.”

If you haven’t guessed it by now, this is where I keep track of some of my media intake. You may or may not be in to the same things. That’s OK. Get your own website. It’s really not all that complicated. I’m sure you can figure it out. And while you are, here are some things for you to read, listen to, watch and/or consider.

Hope you enjoy.

Reading:

download_zps5o9nfob7Ok, so I’m still reading Brothers Karamozov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. OK?! So don’t want to talk about it.

Actually, who am I kidding, of course I want to talk about it! Are  you kidding me?!

I mean, come on. I can’t be the only person who would like to see this epic tale worked out for television by the people behind something like Downton Abbey. Let it play out over several seasons. Fetyukovich the Lawyer?! Smerdyakov?! And Ivan talks to the Devil? How is this going to work out?!

It’s definitely too much for a movie or even a miniseries. But, I think that the way we’ve been seeing some television series play themselves out as closed-ending stories, there might be hope. Watching something like LOST or Breaking Bad, stories which were told and allowed to end gives me hope that this story could be adapted for the screen.

But in the meantime, I love it and I’m glad I finally got around to reading it.

Music:

Damien JuradoVisions of Us On the Land

damien-jurado-visionsJurado’s label, Secretly Canadian, says the album, “completes the tale of an individual who has had to disappear from society in order to discover some universal truths”. NPR says: “As works of mood-altering music go, Jurado has upped the dosage with Visions. It’s a harrowing trip, led by a guide who’s all too familiar with the territory” (you can also stream the album at NPR Music.). Akin to Ryley Walker‘s take on Van Morrison‘s world, Visions of Us On The Land finds Jurado in top form, a soulful, sometimes psychedelic troubadour hitting his stride. It’s a beautiful and moving album.

Check out the official video for “Exit 353” here:


  • Visit Jurado’s official website

Star & MiceyGet ‘Em Next Time

Yes, I know I posted about these guys last week, but that’s how much I dig their stuff. I love coming across bands that just feel natural, like you’ve always liked them. Or at least you would have always liked them if you had known about them sooner. Star & Micey are that kind of band.

Here they are performing on a trolley in 2010. Dig it:


 

  • Visit Star & Micey’s official website
  • Buy the band’s music at Amazon

the Weekly Town Crier

London's Town Crier copyYeah, I know how you feel. Man, sometimes it just feels like it’s in the water or something. Like fluoride.

But then other times it just doesn’t seem like it’s there. You try everything you know, you try to break old habits and find new breath. But it just doesn’t seem like it’s enough.

And then there are the so-so times. How are you? Así, Así, you know. Doing OK but not much more or less than that.

Wherever you find yourself along the spectrum, a good day to you, friend. Welcome to the Weekly Town Crier, where I find, collect and distribute links of varying degrees of interest.

Read as Joseph Gordon-Levitt announces his exit from the Sandman movie adaptation.

Read as The Smart Set considers the legacy of poet Langston Hughes.

Browse Rolling Stone‘s picks for “40 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time”.

Browse as Panels considers “5 Graphic Memoirs To Pick Up Immediately”.

Pick up some great Kurt Vonnegut books for Kindle at only $1.99 (are you out of your mind?!) for a limited time:

R.I.P. the other Beatle, George Martin.

R.I.P. author and speaker Gary Smalley.

R.I.P. author and speaker Jerry Bridges.

R.I.PEmerson, Lake & Palmer‘s Keith Emerson.

Read/listen at NPR as Colin Powell says: “GOP Candidates ‘Belittling’ The Country And Presidency”

Read at Business Insider about how the Mythbusters don’t particularly like one another yet work quite well together.

Watch Bob Odenkirk interview Robbie Fulks.

Read as the New York Times interviews Wendell Berry.

Watch an interview with Ishmael Butler, of Digable Planets and Shabazz Palaces.

Read Consequence of Sound‘s report: “Beetlejuice 2 is a go, with Tim Burton, Michael Keaton, and Winona Ryder”.

Read as Michael Azerrad reflects on the enduring legacy of his book Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 for AV Club.

GED GED-YAH! Read Variety‘s report that WGN’s Outsiders has been renewed for a second season.

Reading, Listening, Watching, etc.

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 2.06.10 PMLet’s be honest here: these posts are more for me than you. I mean, I’m pleasantly pleased if you do read them and even more pleasantly pleased if you find something you like. But I like keeping track of things I’m reading, listening to and reading so that I can compare the things I’ve taken in with the things that make it to my “favorites of the year” list. I listen to a lot of music and I try to read, on average, a book a week (though it doesn’t always work out that way) and its neat to be able to look back and see how certain bands, songs, books, movies, television shows, etc. can remind you of very specific times in your life.

With all of that long-windedness in mind, here is some of what I’ve been digging lately:

Reading:

Brothers Karamozov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

download_zps5o9nfob7Yes, I’m still making my way through Brothers Karamozov. Want to make something of it? What, you think you’re world’s fastest reader or something? Well, maybe you are. How was I supposed to know. Anyways, it’s really good.

 

ESV Journaling Bible, Interleaved Edition

Image-1I recently picked up the Interleaved edition of the ESV journaling bible. I love to make lots of notes, draw and doodle. It helps me process, so I was considering having a custom bible bound but I went ahead and opted for the interleaved ESV Journaling Bible. I went with the brown cloth one and overall I really like it. I wish the pages were a bit thicker but then again I didn’t want to go to the time and trouble to design my own so I can’t/won’t complain too much.

Listening:

Gaelynn Lea/Murder of Crows

unnamedNPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concerts have a now-annual contest to be given a Tiny Desk Concert. This year’s winner, Gaelynn Lea beat out over 6,000 other entries and it’s easy to see why. Combining looping with ancient Irish melodies, Lea creates hauntingly beautiful songs. If you haven’t seen the contest-winning video, peep it here. The visuals focus on the desk until the melody has sufficiently captured you. Then, once the vocals come in, the camera pans 61XsgKA2poL._SS280back to reveal Lea, a small woman in a wheelchair who plays the violin like others would the cello. Far from being a hindrance, Lea’s size makes her approach to the violin utterly unique.

Lea also plays with Low/Retribution Gospel Choir/Black Eyed Snakes guy Alan Sparkhawk as Murder of Crows. Watch Lea’s Tiny Desk Concert featuring Sparhawk here:



And watch the duo perform one of my current favorite songs, “Your Battle” in 2011:



  • Visit Gaelynn Lea’s website
  • Visit Murder of Crow’s website
  • Read an interview with Lea about working with Sparhawk
  • Buy Lea’s music at Amazon

Star & Micey

51no5jBV5pL._SS280Memphis’ Star & Micey just released their debut LP (they have released several EPs and singles) Get ‘Em Next Time. The band creates infectious and urgent good ol’ rockitty roll and dangitall if they aren’t just really good. They are. I like them. I think you might too.

You can stream the album now at Soundcloud, or check out the band performing “I Can’t Wait” for Audiotree:



Here’s “Everything” from the same Audiotree sessions:



  • Visit Star & Micey’s official website
  • Buy the band’s music at Amazon

Mount Moriah

mountmoriah_zpse2d7rjru As if we haven’t already had enough musical goodness today, I want to add Chapel Hill’s Mount Moriah to the mix. The band’s newest album How To Dance has become one of my favorites of the year so far. Paste magazine named the band “the best of what’s next” way back in 2013 and the band has only solidified their sound since then. Describing the band’s maturation, Pitchfork says: “The trio is now so fluent in roots music that it passes as their native tongue.”

Here’s the band as a duo performing “Calvander” for Paste:



Watch the official video for the track “Precita”:



  • Visit the band’s official website

Watching:

Parks and Recreation

maxresdefaultWe are almost all the way through Parks and Recreation. We don’t watch much “live television” so we’ve seen the show but never regularly. That’s the beauty of a service like Netflix or Amazon Prime. We’ve just about made our way through the show and it’s been really good. Like any good show, it is filled with great characters who have been not only casted well but developed over time.

Watch Ron Swanson on Snake Juice:



What media have you been digging lately, my faithful pop culture digging friends?!

Reading and Listening (And Watching)

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 2.10.25 PMWell hidey ho there, neighboroony! How are you doing on this fine-feathered day? How is your physical health? Fine, I hope? And how is your spiritual health? How is your soul? Can you say, and mean it: it is well with my soul? If not, why not? If so, bully for you! What’s in the air tonight that makes it well with your soul? If not, what is blocking your soul from wellness and how can I help? Remember, kids, pain is just weakness leaving the body and, with apologies to Ron Swanson, crying is acceptable at more circumstances than simply funerals and the Grand Canyon, though it is certainly acceptable then too.

Whew.

Shake it off.

Leave it behind.

Keep.

Moving.

Forward.

Feel it?

Ahh, now that we’ve worked through some pretty heavy stuff, I’d like to share with you some of the things that I’ve been accepting into my cultural intake valves this week.

Reading:

download_zps5o9nfob7Ain’t no shame in my game; Yes I’m still working through Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov. Give me a break, it’s over 700 pages, for crying out loud! I’m around 450 pages in, which is the equivalent of several books! Plus, we’re 10 weeks into the year and I’ve already read 13 books, which puts me ahead of schedule for my desire to read 1 book/week during 2016. I know it’s an arbitrary goal and I am not willing to rush my reading simply to keep after an arbitrarily self-assigned goal.

So, with all that being said, I love this book. I have previously let its length dissuade me from tackling it. That, and in all honesty, I have been somewhat been put-off by the “Russian literature” thing. I envisioned it to be cold, stark and brutal, much like architecture of  Russian busstops. But this book is anything but cold, stark, or brutal. The characters brim with warmth and true personality. You may not like the Karamozov family but Dostoyevsky creates them with such depth that you are drawn in to their tragic tale. With with and wisdom, Dostoyevsky creates empathy for some truly horrible people, reminding us that, the greatest of these is love.

Listening:

Holy, Moly, Me Oh My, what a great week for music releases. I picked up several new releases that I’m really excited to listen to. In nothing more than alphabetical order, I am really enjoying this week:

downloadChris Forsyth & the Solar Motel BandThe Rarity of Experience. Guitar rock rocker Chris Forsyth continues with the band originally assembled for the Solar Motel Band album and the results are spectacular. Given the room of a double album, the band pushes further into some experimental psychedelic rock, including the addition of vocals. Given the room to stretch, the Solar Motel Band prove themselves to be a musical force. There are a few guitarists/songwriters that I would say are really at the top of their game right now dancing with the Dead‘s legacy: Kurt Vile, Steve Gunn, to name a couple. And, definitely Chris Forsyth. Great, straight-ahead, sometimes psychedelic guitar rock. Yes, and amen.

  • Read Tiny Mix Tapes‘ review of The Rarity of Experience.

homepage_large.31d39fa4Esperanza Spalding: Emily’s D+Evolution. Renowned bassist Esperanza Spalding has worked for her renown, paying her dues in overlapping worlds of jazz, soul, blues. But she seems to be an artist who realizes that as commercial success increases, the ability to truly be fueled by creativity often decreases. After taking two years away from the music business, Spalding emerges confidently to continue pushing boundaries. Soulful and artsy.

  • Read as Pitchfork names Emily’s D+Evolution “Best New Music”.

la-sera-music-for-listening-album-ryan-adamsLa Sera Music for Listening to Music to. Produced by Ryan AdamsMusic for Listening to Music to carries equal echoes of Adams’ alt. country and the Smiths. Plenty of jangly hooks and hints of soulful swagger with nonchalant but not entirely non-committal vocal deliveries. Not quite detached but also not entirely present.

  • Read The Guardian‘s review: “less garage rock, more Smiths”.

a3167971903_16Guerilla Toss: Eraser Stargazer: Existing somewhere in the ether of what many might call “n0 wave” (not so much a genre in and of itself as the intersection of dance, rock, pop, punk, funk and noise), Guerilla Toss have just released their follow-up to the 2015 Flood Dosed EPEraser Stargazer. Often subversive and usually danceable (not that I do much dancing myself, but if I were so inclined, this music would definitely work).

  • Read Sound Implosion‘s review: “To some, no-wave and dance-punk might not seem like things that should be mixed, but . . . Guerilla Toss definitely succeed”.

Watching:

outsiders_mountain_MWGN’s Outsiders. Ged, Ged-yeh. Part the Killing, Sons of Anarchy and Twin Peaks, the show starts out strong with plenty of mystery surrounding the Farrell clan, a family who has squatted on the same KY mountain for hundreds of years. The Big Bad Coal Company wants their land and all sorts of mayhem ensues. A morally ambiguous sheriff finds himself at the center of the conflict. All of this is fine but the show really succeeds on the strength of the characters. The show may not win any major awards but it is worth the time.

  • Read Variety‘s review of the show.

The Prayer Of The Ugh-Churched

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned against You in my heart and thoughts. I have grown discontent in my journey towards You. I love you still and seek You fervently. In fact, this love for You and desire to grow more like You has fanned the flames of frustration. I want more than church programs. I want the church to live like family. I want to be challenged to grow more dependent on You, not on gifted teachers. I want to be equipped rather than rely on someone else for my spiritual development and I want to be engaged rather than entertained.

Many Christians say they want “real” and “authentic” community but the very structures we adopt for the local church tend emphasize intellectual growth over relationships. We have classes to teach people how  to live in community but we don’t actually expect anyone to be in such a community. In fact, we’re a bit taken aback when we do see it.

When we say “doing life together”, it usually means superimposing some sort of academic study on to people who may or may not actually grow the most from academic study. We approach the Christian life as if we were simply disciplined enough, everything would be better. We academetize everything to the point that we discourage people who have no business being discouraged about following Jesus. It’s great if you can tell me the declentions of a Greek verb but I’d rather know you were trying to love those in your path as best you can. We make people who don’t like to read books read books other than the Bible so that they will understand the Bible better. And if they won’t even pretend to like to read to appease their leaders, they are deemed as somehow less spiritual and not “leader material”. We ask people to take time away from their families so we can tell them to love their families better. We ask people to meet with other Christians to learn how to talk to people who aren’t Christians. Really? Is this what it’s come to?

I’m sorry but if we can’t talk to our neighbor about everyday life, we’re not going to talk to them about Jesus. And if that’s the only think we ever talk to them about we’re just going to seem weird and they’re going to think that we view them as a project rather than a friend.

We use verses out of context to promote our own agendas like the (hopefully) well-intentioned pastor using Hebrews 10:25‘s admonition to not neglect gathering together with other believers to say that you have to be at every worship service (I’d be happy to elaborate on this at some point, but for now, I’ll say that I’m pretty sure that the writer to the Hebrews did not mean that we should attend a production once a week where we passively listen to a speaker tell us for 45 minutes how to live while a band urges us to sing along to their performance.). We draw lines in the sand that don’t need to be drawn and we call it “inerrancy” (the Bible was not given to tell us the age of the earth and to believe in an old earth does not mean not believing the rest of the Bible). We major on the minors and wrongly divide (I have not applied to several churches because they require someone who believes a Pre-Trib/Pre-Mil eschatology. Yes, I think eschatology is important. No, I don’t think this is something to divide over).

Father, protect me that my frustration does not sprout into bitterness. Surround me with people who want more.

Help us, Father to own our weaknesses rather than pretending they don’t exist. Help us to to find a better way forward instead of retreading the same well-intentioned but dead-end paths. Surround me with people who believe that the church is neither a building and who believe that worship is not an event and certainly not a performance. Lead me to people who believe that growth occurs primarily in community and understand that you can’t program real community. Lead me to people who believe that growing in discipleship is not necessarily the same thing as growing in knowledge about the Bible, though the two are often deeply intertwined.

Father, help us to move beyond cliché understandings of words like “authentic” and “organic”. Fill my heart with love and patience. Teach me as a leader to equip others rather than make them rely on me. Please deepen my own love, not only for You but for your your people. May I come to understand my faith, not as an add-on but as a marinade for life.

May my frustration be an instrument of healing for others. May I never lead out of opposition but from joyful obedience. May my love for you increase and may I become more dependent on You. Grant me wisdom, fill me with joy, lead me to serve and surround me with others who want the same.

Amen.

 

the Weekly Town Crier

London's Town Crier copyI don’t know about you but I love spicy artichoke jalapeño dip. I mean, with some wavy potato chips or the thicker plain chips. Not the thin ones because the dip is too thick for those sissy chips. No sissy chips up in he-yah. Know what I mean, Vern?

Man, sometimes it just hits the spot if you know what I mean. No? Well, you really should try some.

Buy my art here or here or contact me directly to purchase originals.

Visit our family blog: “The Thomas Ten.”

Browse Large Hearted Boy‘s list of “100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads.”

Listen to a mix of some of my favorite songs released in 2015.

Browse my 42 favorite albums of 2015.

Download a three-volume mix of Jesusy songs I collected.

R.I.P. Harper Lee.

R.I.P. Umberto Eco.

R.I.P. Samuel Willenberg, “the last known survivor of the Nazi death camp Treblinka.”

R.I.P. Jeb Bush’s presidential bid.

R.I.P. Ben Carson’s presidential campaign.

R.I.P. First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Browse the lineup for this year’s Pitchfork music festival.

Browse Phoenix New Times‘ list of “Arizona’s 30 Most Influential Musicians.”

Learn about caffeinated toothpaste.

Read about Sub Pop Records offering “college scholarships to ‘losers’ and ‘art-enthused misfits'”.

Read as Smithsonian considers “How the Phonograph Changed Music Forever”.

Read as Salon argues: “Stop buying old Bob Dylan albums: “Every time somebody buys a reissue, they’re just taking money away from new musicians”. But I like Bob Dylan and new music . . .

Watch a “1970 documentary about Hunter S. Thompson‘s run for mayor of Aspen”.

  • Read as The Washington Post opines: “If only Hunter S. Thompson could have lived to take on this election”.

Browse as NPR’s Jazz Night In America considers the history of “Jazz slang”.

Read as The Washington Post considers three cocktails that “pair perfectly with classic literature”.

Read USA Today‘s profile of Mavis Staples.

Browse as The Guardian compares streaming services.

Browse Paste‘s picks for “10 Essential Short Story Collections”.

Read as The Guardian considers: “Slave to the algorithm? How music fans can reclaim their playlists from Spotify“.

Read as Consequence of Sound reports that a “Fall Coachella Festival” is imminent.

Read reports that Apple is implementing a trade-in program for iPhones.

Read Vinyl Factory‘s report that new printed city guides for vinyl are being made available for select cities.

Read The Atlantic‘s report on the return of Planet Earth.

Ever wonder why you sometimes feel “phantom phone vibrations”?

Read Smithsonian‘s piece: “Long Before Jack Daniels, George Washington Was a Whiskey Tycoon.”

Read as Gillian Anderson talks about Dave Grohl‘s X-Files cameo and how it came to be.

Read as AV Club urges us to reconsider “the grim and gritty Dark Age of superhero comics.”

Read Live For Live Music‘s report: “The Leaked Tracklisting For The National‘s Extensive Grateful Dead Tribute Is Incredible”.

Hear “a giant 800-track alt/indie-focused 90’s playlist in chronological order”.

Read about the new vinyl-pressing plant promising tw0-week turnaround.

Read CNN‘s report: “Beyoncé offered security for concert by Louis Farrakhan“.

Browse as Consequence of Sound considers “Which Artists Are Still Holding Out on Streaming”.

Browse “Relevant”‘s list of “8 Biographies Everyone Should Read”.

Read Paste‘s report: “Pixar Made an App That Helps the Blind Experience Movies”.

Read Fact Magazine‘s report: “Discogs sold 6.6 million records in 2015”.

Watch Bill Gates DJ on Jimmy Fallon.

See shoes that grow with you.

Read “Relevant”‘s piece: “Justin Bieber: Without God I’d Be a Terrible Person”.

Listen as the BBC discusses poetry form.

Read as Lucinda Williams discusses her discography with Spin.

Browse Flavorwire‘s picks for “The 10 Albums You Need to Hear in March”.

Ever wonder: “How Does ‘A Wrinkle in Time‘ Look on a Map?”

Read Paste‘s: “4 Questions for Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver”.

Reading and Listening

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 4.41.44 PMI’ m a firm believer in actively thinking about the media I consume. Though I might be guilty of an episode or two of Fixxer-Upper (don’t you judge me), I’m not one prone to “vegging out”. The mind is a terrible thing to waste. And platitudes like that. Anyway, with all of that being said, here are some thoughts about what I’ve been listening to and reading this week.

Reading

I’m am not the world’s fastest reader so I am continuing to make my way through Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s The Brothers KaramazovI am thoroughly enjoying this book and can’t wait to watch the plot further unfold.

Not much on the reading front otherwise.

Listening

Esmerine: Lost Voices (‘Neighbourhoods Rise’ video): Last year, Esmerine (a project of Bruce Cawdron, formerly of God Speed You! Black Emperor and and Rebecca Foon formerly of Thee Silver Mt. Zion) released the haunting album Lost Voices. The group recently released a brilliant stop-motion video for the track “Neighbourhoods Rise”. Watch it here:


Esmerine "The Neighbourhoods Rise" from Constellation Records on Vimeo.

Mount Moriah: How To DanceOn the Chapel Hill band’s third outing, Mount Moriah owns its role as a roots band and it’s been worth the wait.  solid outing from a band who finally feels sure of themselves.

Sarah Neufeld: The Ridge: plays violin for a band called Arcade Fire. You may have heard of them? Those familiar with the instrumental side-project Bell Orchestre will find many familiar elements on Neufeld’s second solo outing. The Ridge features appearances by multi-instrumentalist Colin Stetson, with whom Neufeld has collaborated in the past, with great results. Stream The Ridge now at Wall Street Journal.