When did music lose it’s innocence?
Sure there have always been streams of the music industry that have been pushing the boundaries and that’s great but doesn’t it seem that everything has just been condensed down to love and hate?
It’s like we have taken the prized bull and boiled it up until all we have is an Oxo cube… do we really want beef stock rather than the bull itself?
To a point we can expect that from the secular music industry… cliche after cliche, remix after remix of a song that used to be famous when people still used to play music and sing music as if it was a craft that was about connecting people rather than just making a quick buck… with the sole focus to make people famous.
I can understand that from the secular music industry… but when did our church music become so obvious and bland?
I’ve listened to Kiwi singer/songwriter and worship leader David Lyle Morris for a couple of years now… and the first thing that comes to my mind is ‘innocence’.
David has this amazing ability to craft songs that would have stood along side the great artist such as Air Supply, James Taylor and Carole King.
His writing is honest, it’s heart felt, it’s thoughtful and with the fear of sounding condescending I am tempted to use the word ‘sweet’.
In fact the first time I saw him lead worship with just an acoustic guitar, I closed my eyes and I could almost imagine what it might have been like to worship with King David (if he played a guitar not a harp!)… there is a real authenticity that some people try to mimic but that you just can’t fake, and when you are around David Lyle Morris you just know that his heart is to help turn your eyes to God.
The album ‘Endlessly’ is a well crafted album and the album starts with ‘Start of something new’ a song for his boy Eino.
It’s a really honest song talking about the excitement and the forward looking nature of a Dad excited to share in the first moments with his son and the legacy that the Father wants the son to take up… Lines like “This is the start of a family tree, you’re the little branch under me” show the simplicity of Davids lyrics while at the same time casts great imagery.
In fact this album is full of so much imagery, and not in a daunting and heavy way but in a way that helps you relate with the song. In fact it really enhances the songs. Songs like ‘Caledonia Girl’ reminds me of James Taylor… the story telling, the melodic way that the music draws you into the story.
Endlessly is an honest album… Songs like ‘Open my eyes’ really start to show case the pureness of Davids vocals and the team around him just gently push, and nudge the song to enhance its colour.
Do you know what an album sounds like when you can tell that each instrument and layer and nuance of the song is there to make the other instruments sound better?.. it sounds like ‘Endlessly’.
It’s full of space… it’s full of meaning… it’s uncluttered and real.
Maybe David Lyle Morris is New Zealand’s own shepherd worship leader?
Maybe David is our new contemporary version of David the shepherd boy?
It’s all about context.
There seems to be so many mega churches putting out albums full of generic worship songs that talk about Gods grace and goodness but miss the heart of it all… sometimes it just seems like they are just putting words to paper, and do ‘Worship by numbers’ – now please hear me I’m not saying that these songs aren’t authentic or can’t be used… I just sometimes think they lose their organic-ness due to deadlines etc.
And so it’s refreshing when you hear an album like Malcolm Gordon’s ‘Into the Deep’
You find yourself being drawn into the worship. It’s not about lights… it’s not about performance it’s about turning your eyes upwards… and it’s so natural.
Malcolm is a Presbyterian Minister, serving as the music director at St Peters in Tauranga in New Zealand… and the easy going nature that New Zealanders are renown for certainly shows in his music.
I love how Malcolm’s music is constantly routed not only in the Bible but also church tradition… a constant step forward while being rooted in the past. The Song Christ Before Me was inspired by ‘St Patrick’s Breastplate’ an old hymn that is thought to have been originally written in the 8th Century. Most of the songs have this foundation of scripture first which could seem quite heavy although Malcolm treats the scripture with respect and beauty and the result is a beautifully flowing album with real kiwi tinge and a large helping of Celt.
The album takes you on a journey as you start with ‘Waiting For the Dawn’ a real sense of expectations as you find yourself singing ”Yes I am longing, For Jesus to come”… and then you are gently lead throughout the scriptures.
In fact being lead would be a really good way to describe how this album takes you to a place where you find yourself in worship, and it’s done so naturally you don’t have to think about it, the worship is something that just flows from where the music leads.
The real highlight of the album is when you hit the acapella filled song ‘How Long Lord’ based on Psalm 13 sung as a Celtic tinged round… it’s melodic, it’s soothing and it’s the perfect time on the album to change the feel of the album.
Although this album is beautiful as a whole it’s each song that really feel like they have been individually hand crafted that really bring it together.
This is a beautiful inspired album.
I live in New Zealand, it’s a small place in the bottom of the pacific that is a melting pot of great music.
One of the things that works the best with the pacific musical blend is Dub and Reggae vibes, with bands like The Black Seeds, Tiki Taane, Salmonella Dub and Fat Freddys Drop pushing the boundaries. So its fair to say I know what great reggae, dub and roots sound like.
So I was excited when I heard the vibes around the group Tasman Jude, a reggae based group made up of Bravehart (from Trinidad & Tobago) & Al Peterson (From Canada) an unusual combination on paper if you look at just the countries of origin you would have to admit – however what I heard was something fresh, and I liked it.
‘El Norteno’ starts off with an acoustic reggae based groove that reminded me of Jack Johnson, until the vocal came in with a Matisyahu type of flow and sets the rest of the album up with the track ‘Fountains’… it was great to hear people taking reggae back to it’s roots more.
I loved seeing pictures of Bob Marley early in his recording career with an acoustic guitar surround by his band all circled around one mic. That to me symbolizes the essence of great reggae music.
Our radio-waves are filled with over produced reggae with hundreds of dubbed over tracks and beats and while they might be what people are calling for it takes away the innocence that reggae resembles… rebels with peace and love and truth in their voices with the promise of a new revolution based on these things.
‘El Norteno’ is filled with this vibe. Tasman Jude are cutting across the grain to give you something that others aren’t giving you… reggae with heart.
‘Take You Away’ is the perfect example of great acoustic grooves with a reggae vibe that Tasman Jude lay before you… it’s the way Canada and Trinidad & Tobago work together… great catchy melody’s and sunny island attitude that’s relaxed and feelin’ great.
It’s the essence of this combination that makes Tasman Jude’s sound work so well.
The track ‘Whoa’ is certainly the standout track on this album, and starts to push Tasman Jude’s sound to a place that becomes a bit more raw, and gives a really good example of how the band would sound live. It almost brings some harder elements into the sound reminiscent of groups like Sublime.
An album with more tracks would hopefully highlight some more of these sounds, as it’s a fine balance with Tasman Jude’s type of sound between too much of the same and trying to fit too much in which can make the sound seem cluttered.
I love how this album is raw, not over produced and highlights the basics of what this group represents, great melody, a fresh relaxed vibe and clean sounds.
This is the best of what acoustic sounds are on the radio at the moment…
Its great to hear bands not just bragging about going back to their roots… but actually doing it.
Mother Teresa was famous for saying “fight abortion by adoption and care for the mother” and it got me thinking, aren’t we so quick to jump on the bandwagon to choose our side Pro-Life or Pro-choice when it comes to the debate about abortion, yet there are very little people who are will to take a stand or offer a viable solution other than “don’t do it”.
Isn’t it funny how quick we are to make a stand point on genocide, human trafficking and family violence in our society when we are removed from it.
It’s not real, it’s over there and we’re here… yet we have a strong opinion on it don’t we… why?
Because it’s a fingerprint of the creator on our soul… we know that it’s not how it should be… it shouldn’t be like this.
Yet when it comes to killing a human life before it’s had a chance to see the world, it’s ALL about us. It’s not about the baby or the life… it’s about what’s convenient for me.
Now I don’t want to reduce the pain some mothers have been through… maybe through rape or other forms of sexual violence… but I want to make sure that people realise that there is another option.
I’m sure people aren’t having abortions just because it’s cool or trendy… but because people think that they can’t house the child… or maybe feel they can’t cope with another baby… or even a baby at all… or even think that this new child will be a constant reminder of their pain.
Yet society pushes them towards abortion…
Could you imaging what the world would look like if we put the same amount of interest in saving a life as we did recycling or saving animals we may never see in rain forests…
There is a wonderful couple called Steve and Emma Dunne who are leading the way in adoption in Nelson, New Zealand.
They’re not interested in just adopting the most beautiful or the cutest… but adopting ANY baby from any mother that needs it… no mater how sick or needy the child is they are willing to adopt.
Steve and Emma started The Jeremiah Trust. The purpose of the trust is to provide some tangible options for every unwanted pregnancy in New Zealand.
Here is some of the ways they help mothers:
So if you’re a mother who is thinking of abortion as an option… or a family who would like a child in your life that you can love and look after… make sure you check out Jeremiah Trust first.
I know you probably get this a lot… but do you realise just how AWESOME you are?
It amazes me that we live in a society where the people who are the best at what they do get knocked down… in New Zealand we call this the tall poppy syndrome, which means that those who raise their heads above the others get lopped down to size.
Do we realise how insane this is?
Surely it would be better for society if the best did well… and not only did well but then in turn helped those who needed help… but that’s not the case (generally… there are always exceptions) but what usually happens is those who do well keep it quiet so that they don’t gets mocked and brought down or go elsewhere so they don’t have to help those who insist that because they’ve done well they now owe society something.
I’ve been a social commentator in the past and I’ve been one of the knockers…
You see we’re all arm chair critics until someone asks us for answers to all the problems that we have just picked out.
The thing that really makes me upset is that it happens in our own homes... and we let it happen.
We’re letting ourselves and others let our pasts define us, we’re letting our family members our partners, our friends etc… tell us that we’re never going to be able to make a difference in our own live because of the mistakes we’ve made in the past…
Well I’m here to tell you… IT’S TIME TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF!
The great thing I love about the Bible is that it is FULL of people like you and me who made mistakes… Take Paul as an example, he used to kill and persecute Christians and then God turned his life around and he ended up writing most of the New Testament. Peter denied Jesus 3 times and then ended up leading his Church.
You see where you’re going and what you’re doing aren’t nearly as important as WHO YOU’RE BECOMING.
Your mistakes are part of your human-ness they are the things that build who you are becoming… no one said it was going to be an easy ride… in fact Jesus said “you will have trouble”.
Yes the past mistakes will often come with consequences, some will be visible to the world and some will stick with us as hidden scares for a while… but they don’t define us, they are the rough edges that help make us smoother.
So it’s time to get up and start believing in yourself…
I don’t mean get cocky… I mean have confidence that you are who you were made to be because there is a bigger plan… you were made to be you… so why pretend to be someone you’re not?
I’m telling you… you’re awesome!
And believe me I don’t tell that to everyone! ;OP
- Figuring out the Magicians tricks… (screaminggoose.wordpress.com)
Those who follow this blog regularly would know that I live in Christchurch New Zealand… and on Wednesday we commemorated a year on from the earthquake on 22 February that changed the way we live in Christchurch forever.
My church HPCC took it as an opportunity to get into our community and to see what how everyone was feeling… and a year on we found that some people are still really upset and uneasy about living in Christchurch… the constant living with the unknown…
“When will another earthquake hit?”
“Will it be big?”
and the list goes on…
As a church we were concerned for our community that we are apart of… so we went knocking on doors to find out how people are. The whole door knocking thing was pretty awesome… when the door was answered we would introduce ourselves to the house owner as from the local church down the road… what happened after that was amazing…
Some people asked “what do you want? What are you trying to sell me?” or “what is your sales pitch?” – they saw us as coming to their door as “selling Jesus” to them – the awesome thing was being able to tell them that we were actually interested in how they are feeling… is there anything that we ‘as a church’ can do to help them as a person in the community that we really want to see develop.
Some people gave the short “yeah I’m good” answer… and even if you tried to dig you were given the impression that it just wasn’t going to happen…
And then there were the people with their quake stories… they wanted to be heard. Some were still hurting… it was wonderful to be able to get beside these people, some needed physical help, like one elderly couple who needed some gardening done or help with some practical stuff… or the person who had just had an operation, and was bed ridden who we were able to come into her home and make her a cup of tea.
It was great to chat with these people… and if the ‘God’ question came up we would talk about it… and if the person was struggling we were able to ask if the would mind if we prayed for them.
But every house we prayed that God would bless the home and bless the conversations…
The thing I loved about going door to door checking everyone was still doing ok… (on all levels) – is it was a continued part of who we are as a church in our community… it’s a relationship.
We were able to work with some local business… work with our local schools and come up with ways to really build on where we are in our community and the partnership is awesome.
Where we are at community means relationships… it means building on those relationships. Through this we have been able to see people coming to Christ because of it – and that is awesome… however through this relationship I have a sense that we will see many… many more.
- Pray First (screaminggoose.wordpress.com)
In NZ we have a forum in Parliament where the opposition parties are able to state their ground, and the reason they are there, also to talk about the future for them, they call it the address in reply debate… as it’s in reply to the Governments first governmental speech.
The Green party leader Dr. Russell Norman, a renown atheist stood up and told the Christian story… in this case a lot better than some Christians I have heard. His speech was inspiring… motivating… stirring… however at the end I thought to myself, isn’t it all a bit idealist?
The speech was laced with all the feel good points you would expect from a good socialist soapbox… equality… fairness… end of poverty… and all these things are good, in fact these things are VERY good. So why was I left feeling like something was missing?
In New Zealand we recently had a National election (for those of my reader from overseas) and because I think everyone’s vote should be counted I researched heavily the policies of all political parties I though interested me. Reading through the two main policies I realised that these were based on the knowledge of what they could actually follow through on… or in other words if they got elected based on these policies could they deliver.
What I found interesting is that when I got to parties like The Greens I found that they were not policies but a glorified wish list… The Greens for instance in New Zealand had struggled past the 10% mark… and because of this they could list all the things that they would LIKE to do but didn’t have to deliver… so the list of ‘policies’ they had were to be used to barter for legislation with the bigger parties in Parliament and the Government itself.
The Greens did really well in the elections and got 14% which is a HUGE lift.
So why was I still feel like something is missing?
Well the ideals that Russell talked about are wonderful and grand and motivating… however he’s missed one really important point.
The reason this rag tag group of people were able to scare Governments and change the world wasn’t because they wanted what was right and fought for social justice… it was because they believed in a Holy God who as in Paul wrote in Ephesians “is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” - the frightening thing is Russell is basing his ideals on a God he refuses to believe in…
So let me ask you this… Who has got his back?
The Jews and then the other Nations who came under God, were backed by the creator of the Universe…
It doesn’t matter how much policy you put on things… if you don’t know God… then there is no God to create the miracles of Christmas. Many Christians can talk to you about the hundreds of times when God came through when no one expected it would… a lump of money arrives unexpectedly and is the exact amounted needed to fix your car… food delivered to your door, just as you finish the last loaf of bread… it’s happened to some of these people so many times now, they will swear to you that’s just can’t be a coincidence.
To finish I have to say that I like having the idealists in Parliament… they’re great. I just which they were part of the Government… not the main act… but a supporting role.
Why you ask?
Well the Government are usually very black and white in the way they see things often and a bit of colour to policy could be a really good thing… it’s a pity in New Zealand these groups are in opposition.
To hear the full speech see the video below:
I really like election time… yeah I know that sounds crazy but the thing I like about it is the fact that I get to have a voice…
But here is the dilemma… who do you vote for?
As a Christian I have decided to start to look at politics through my faith… rather than my faith through my politics, so what does that mean… it means I aim to try and vote based on what God says, rather than how much money politicians say they will throw my way or what heart string pulling speech they will throw my way.
So here is my approach… I’m looking not at political lines – I’m looking at their morals, and their ethics.
Now I know what you’re thinking “Come on… nobody’s perfect” – but we’re not talking about Scouts NZ we’re talking about people who are leading and representing our country. My Dad is a guy who is morally and ethically a good guy, so I know for a fact that someone can lead a life in a way that they don’t need to drop their moral compass… I’m sure you can think of people like this too… so we know it’s not impossible. So isn’t it only fair to ask, shouldn’t we expect the person who represents us in parliament to not only do their job with good morals but also good ethics.
In other words we want people who walk their talk… these people are OUR leaders and WE get to VOTE them in.
Solomon once wrote:
“The honor of good people will lead them, but those who hurt others will be destroyed by their own false ways.” (or another version says “the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity”)
In other words, people who say one thing and do the other can’t be trusted… but those that walk their talk have some integrity.
Let me put it another way
If they would lie to their wife… who will they not lie to?
If they gamble and are dishonest with their own money… what makes you think I will be happy with you handling mine?
I really don’t care what side of the political fence you sit on but if we VOTE people into our parliament who are filled with integrity, who not only say they support family, but they prove it in their own lives.
And we NEED to vote… and not just some random vote to spite the BIG parties…
but a vote that was going to be better for YOUR community… for our country.
The great thing about our country is that everyone who is in parliament… is voted in… BY US!
My good friends at SamSoul are AWESOME and have their finger on the humanity pulse. With so many people in the world affected by the earthquakes in Christchurch & now Japan the SamSoul team have come up with some great designs that will not only let you look cool… but have the satisfaction of knowing that you are making an impact in what could seem a pretty daunting task ahead.
Here is what my mate had to say about the range at her blog site Here to Eternity (which is worth checking out too by the way):
There are ways to help even if you’re far away: the Red Cross in NZ has launched a Christchurch Earthquake Appeal and the Red Cross in Canada and World Vision worldwide have appeals going for Japan. Money will go towards rebuilding, rehoming and feeding people as well as helping organise people on the ground.
If you happen to like getting a little with your giving, SamSoul has just launched it’s t-shirt line and they are running “Rebuild Christchurch” and “#prayforjapan” campaigns. 20% of profits from each sale will go towards Red Cross and World Vision efforts here in Christchurch and over in Japan. Plus all the shirts are fair trade and made by Freeset – an organisation that helps prostitutes in India learn sewing skills and hence gets them off the street and earning a decent wage.”
So here you have it… look stylish and give to a great cause. There are a lot of people out there who are hurting… pray for them, but you can also help the Red Cross by simply buying a T-shirt from SamSoul.
In the news today I saw a story of a couple who lost both their children, one in the Pike River Mine tragedy in New Zealand 13 days ago… this alone is sad, however 8 years earlier they had lost their daughter in a car accident, she wasn’t even at fault. The question that often is asked “why did God cause this?”
In John 9:3 Jesus said that somethings happen “so that the work of God might be displayed in his life”… in the story the man had spent years in a society that looked poorly on a blind man, blaming it on past sin and wrong doings. Basically Jesus was saying God will be glorified through this tragedy… but it kind of seems kinda harsh doesn’t it?
But just because God allows things to happen doesn’t mean that God causes it all to happen.
I sometimes I question God… it’s only natural because our minds are just so small to understand all things. Sometimes like the story in John about the blind man, people are healed… however sometimes through all the pain and all the prayer and hope of a miracle, like that in the Pike River mine there is death… and we are left wondering… we are left hurting and there seems to be no reason for it.
Why would God take people so young? Or with children without a dad?
And as little as it may seem while in the middle of all the pain… there always seems like there are glimmers of light that we sometimes get shown to us through it all; Like a nation showing support to Christchurch during a earthquake or help from All around the world to show support to the families who lost loved ones at Pike River - but it still hurts doesn’t it.
Even in the middle of our pain (especially in the middle of our pain) God is good…
Bad things happen to good people, that’s just life unfortunately.
Bad things happened to Jesus too… and that’s the best news for us… his death led to our life – eternal life.
Isn’t it interesting how we’re pretty quick to ask why something bad happened – how often do you ask why God might bless you might bless you for something good?
The truth is good things happen to people like you and me… people who are sinful – and deserve DEATH - nothing less.
No matter what sort of pain you are going through remember to keep your eyes on Heaven , the ultimate prize and reward… and remember to be thankful that God doesn’t always give us what we deserve.
When it comes to OUR SINS – thank God that he’s NOT fair.
- Pike River: MPs in show of unity over tragedy (nzherald.co.nz)
- Latest updates: Pike River mine tragedy – New Zealand Herald (news.google.com)