A new edition of the prayer book I put together for our congregation has been published. This edition covers every week from January 11th through April 4th. You can purchase a hard copy for yourself here. It only cost $5.81 per copy, so order one for yourself, family, and friends. Or download a free PDF copy for your tablet, phone, or computer.
The book contains Scripture readings, Psalms, and a prayer litany for each week up until Easter, as well as brief introductions to the seasons of Epiphany and Lent. The readings follow the reading cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary that include the sermon passage for each week. Every Sunday our local congregation will be rallying around the Psalm of the week and the themes present in these readings. It is my prayer that this book is a easy way to access formative Christian practices and encourage common worship that forms through Scripture reading and the historic language of the Church. I should also add that you will find artwork to match the themes of each week’s readings.
There is SO much music out there. Here is a short list of the music that I listened to the most over the course of 2014.
I listened to a lot of Jazz this year, both live and and through the ‘ol earbuds. These two albums were (by far) my favorite. Both releases are reflective of high quality contemporary jazz folks who are rooted in the past, yet blazing new trails. Brian Blade is from NYC and Ambrose Akinmusire is from Oakland, CA. Both possess enough talent to cover all the land in-between the coasts.
Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band – Landmarks
Ambrose Akinmusire – An Imagined Savior is Far Easier to Paint
I kept coming back to Beck’s Morning Phase. Such a consistent mood and solid production. Gets better with every listen.
Beck – Morning Phase
Bread and butter.
Spoon – They Want My Soul
Of course…this. My favorite contemporary music album of the year. Actually, this may have been released in 2013. I don’t care. It’s still my top listen.
Son Lux – Lanterns
Sturgill Simpson’s late 2014 release is revolutionary. It is exactly as the album title and artwork suggests.
Metamodernism reflects “…mediations between aspects of both modernism and postmodernism.” Simpson’s artistic vision suggests that the future of pop art is absolutely rooted in the traditions of the past, without unnecessary nostalgia and sentimentality. Rock solid, meta, non-cliche, and subversively hedonistic. Anyone with a soft spot for Waylon Jennings will drool over this album.
Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
Classical and Choral
My main playlist from the Lenten Season 2014. Arvo Part’s Kanon Pokajanen is a choral cycle of repentance. Stunning.
Arvo Part – Kanon Pokajanen
John Tavener – Icon of Eros
Contemporary Alternative Classical
yMusic play cutting edge contemporary classical compositions. Seeing them live in 2014 was a concert highlight for my wife and I.
yMusic – Balance Problems
Stream at yMusic Bandcamp page
My most listened to Spotify playlist.
I’ve been exploring various (contemporary) Roman Catholic missals and have found that the majority of the hymnody they contain are historically Protestant in origin. The same can be said for the Roman Catholic prayer devotional that I use called Magnificat. This is fascinating to me. Great church music has the ability to be delightfully indiscriminate. Crossing traditions, yet embodying our deepest confessions. Singing together as a kind of visible (and sacramental?) sign of unity. Confessing the deepest content of the faith through song bypasses our inability to reconcile in other ways. This fact should not be understated. Truly, Vatican II can be spoken of as a kind of Protestant liturgical renewal within the Roman Catholic church. Taken together, the canon of the best Protestant hymns engage the entirety of Scripture and present it as a “coherent dramatic narrative” that connect the community and individuals to the whole. The liturgy of the Mass does the same thing. Does the inclusion of these hymns presuppose that, on some level, we belong to the same Church? Thanks be to God.
Nuanced and honest accounts of same-sex attraction and historic Christian faith can be few and far between. This documentary was recently released by a group of Catholic filmmakers and does a fabulous job of framing the discussion within the context of individual stories that are contextual, yet converge on a journey toward the center of primal Christian faith. This documentary may defy the expectations of my friends on both sides of the “homosexual issue”, yet ends up in a place that is both profoundly Christian and human. Desire of the Everlasting Hills simply follows the long journey of three individuals on their trek back to Christian faith. The trajectory of their stories are Augustinian (thus the title of the film) and their conversions are a multifaceted witness to a Good Shepard. Claire Levis has written a brief review of the the film over at First Things .
Click on the below image to jump to the film, or click here for both Spanish and English versions of the film.
I’ve been working on publishing a simplified prayer book for our congregation. It’s now completed and the hard copies look great! Here is a PDF copy for those who might like to download it for their tablets, phones, and computers. Inside these pages you will find Scripture readings, Psalms, and a prayer litany for each week up until Christmas. The readings follow the reading cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary and include the sermon passage for each week at Christ Church Davis. Every Sunday our local congregation will be rallying around the Psalm of the week and the themes present in these readings. It is my prayer that this book is a easy way to access formative Christian practices and encourage common worship that forms through Scripture reading and the historic language of the Church.
Some view marriage to their church tradition in the same way some view and practice marriage between a man and woman. As self sufficient and sustainable without help from those outside their particular marriage (tradition). This is an extension of the modern myth of the “nuclear” family. Marriage for the common good means covenant commitment to an exclusive marriage that counts on those outside the marriage to prop it up and sustain its exclusivity, authenticity, and integrity. It is good for the church, and society at large, when the members of the church catholic can display this kind of ecumenism and humility.
The other extreme is to view exclusive relationships as fluid and all-inclusive…polyamorous even. Claiming exclusivity to more than one, but not being able to sustain such a tempestuous dream because of our limits as creatures…our “not-Godness.” This is an extension of the postmodern myth of pure syncretism. This understanding and practice is an unwillingness to admit, that in a fallen world, embrace always includes exclusion.
Indeed, we were made, “…a little lower than the angels.” But Christ was, “…made a little lower than the angels for awhile…,” so that he might enter into an exclusive marriage with his creatures. His exclusion from God has resulted in him being, “…crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” This kind of love goes beyond human attempts at exclusion and embrace.
It is holy. Thanks be to God.