Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Tome - C. S. Lewis / Free Will

Tonight we had the first session of our Mere Christianity Book Club. We had a large group. I'd guess about twenty or so.

It was hard to cover the first two sections and do them justice as they deal with so many big topics in such a short space. We discussed the case Lewis makes for a universal impulse for determining right from wrong. This led into the need to find a transcendent cause or source for morality. The sense most people have of the world's brokenness and the need for healing moved us toward the Christian idea of Jesus as savior--the very center of God's strategy to make the world right.

Our next session will be held on February 21, 7:00pm. You're welcome to join us. We'll be discussing Section 2, Chapter 5 and all of Section 3.

In case you didn't catch it in my post last Tuesday, the entire book is available for free online. The entire text is there, downloadable as a pdf, and available as audio. CLICK HERE.

From Book Two, What Christians Believe, Chapter 3, "The Shocking Alternative"--

Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata—of creatures that worked like machines—would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Music - Charn

Let's get the new week started with some music from a band that will be new to most Altered Faces readers, CHARN. My nephews, Alex Hicks and Phil Hicks, have a band with friends Steve Bosmans and Levi Stugelmeyer. If you like what you hear, you can find out more about them HERE.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Supplication - Light & Wisdom

Almighty and Everlasting God, you are the rightful authority over all things in heaven and on earth. We ask you to hear our prayers. We ask that today and every day you would grant us your peace. We thank you for your mercy and goodness toward us.

We confess our sins and weaknesses, Lord. We repent of the ways we have disobeyed and turned from you. Forgive us and help us to turn away from wrong. Transform us and give us the faith to press toward life, healing, restoration, holiness, and good deeds. You are so gracious to us, and we ask you to make us able and quick to be gracious toward others.

O God, thank you for revealing yourself through Jesus, your son. Just as the rising sun is visible with each new day, and by its brightness makes all things visible, help us to see the light and wisdom of Jesus, and make us able to see everything else rightly by the light of his truth.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Family - Cowboy Östen

I'm barely getting a chance to blog today, so I guess I'll just post a favorite picture of my grandson, Östen Lowe Burkum. This little guy is a sweetheart. Hope I get to see him tomorrow.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Thinking - Jesus & Religion

The Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus video by Jefferson Bethke has attracted a lot of attention. Posted on YouTube on January 10th, it has had nearly 17,000,000 views in just two weeks.

I could easily point out some good things about the video, and just as easily level some criticisms and complaints. I don't think the "poem" is very good poetry or even very good rap, and content-wise it suffers from simplistic overstatement. Nonetheless, I think it has provoked some healthy conversation and some thoughtful responses.



Jesus Was Religious
from Jared Wilson @ Gospel-Driven Church

Does Jesus Hate Religion? Kinda, Sorta, Not Really
Kevin Deyoung @ Gospel Coalition

Clanging Cymbal Ecclesiology
Matthew Canterino @ First Things

Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus - SMACKDOWN
Response @ Bad Catholic

Hey Jefferson Bethke, Let Me Tell You What Religion Is
Tony Jones @ Theoblogy

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday Words - Ted Kooser

The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keiller is a little treasure among the programs heard on Minnesota Public Radio. Taking in a poem a day is a good idea for everyone.

The Writer's Almanac has introduced me to many a poem and poet. The little factoids and biographical sketches are interesting and memorable, and Keiller does a great job of reading the poems.

Here is a beautiful little poem from Ted Kooser that was featured on The Writer's Almanac just a couple of days ago.

At the Cancer Clinic
She is being helped toward the open door
that leads to the examining rooms
by two young women I take to be her sisters.
Each bends to the weight of an arm
and steps with the straight, tough bearing
of courage. At what must seem to be
a great distance, a nurse holds the door,
smiling and calling encouragement.
How patient she is in the crisp white sails
of her clothes. The sick woman
peers from under her funny knit cap
to watch each foot swing scuffing forward
and take its turn under her weight.
There is no restlessness or impatience
or anger anywhere in sight. Grace
fills the clean mold of this moment
and all the shuffling magazines grow still.

"At the Cancer Clinic" by Ted Kooser, from Delights & Shadows.
© Copper Canyon Press, 2004.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday Tome - C. S. Lewis / Reality and Belief

The first session of my Mere Christianity Book Club takes place next Tuesday night, January 31, at 7:00pm. We'll be discussion our observations, questions, and reactions to the material in the first two sections. If you live in the Twin Cities, you're welcome to join us.

Incidentally, I just discovered the entire book for free online. The entire text is there, downloadable as a pdf, and available as audio. Wow! CLICK HERE.

From Book Two, What Christians Believe, Chapter 2, "The Invasion"--

Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect. For instance, when you have grasped that the earth and the other planets all go round the sun, you would naturally expect that all the planets were made to match-all at equal distances from each other, say, or distances that regularly increased, or all the same size, or else getting bigger or smaller as you go farther from the sun. In fact, you find no rhyme or reason (that we can see) about either the sizes or the distances; and some of them have one moon, one has four, one has two, some have none, and one has a ring.

Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have. So let us leave behind all these boys' philosophies-these over-simple answers. The problem is not simple and the answer is not going to be simpler either.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Music - Patty and the Buttons

Every once in awhile, my wife and I enjoy the opportunity to take in Sunday brunch at the Aster Cafe in Minneapolis. The food is good, the atmosphere is fun, and Patty and the Buttons provide the music.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Supplication - Proclaiming Good News

O Lord, help us to answer the call of our Savior Jesus Christ. Help us to seriously and readily seek your will for our lives. Help us, by our words and actions, to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to all people. Help us and the world around us to recognize the salvation he brings.

Thank you for the forgiveness and renewal you have given to us through Christ Jesus. Help us to extend forgiveness to each other. And help us grow into a redemptive and healing community. Help us to have a saving and healing impact on the world around us.

O God, life in this world is more than we can face on our own. Help us to navigate our way through the many challenges and conflicts. Help us to live with integrity and care toward others in authentic Christian fellowship. Help our Valley community to be an instrument of your grace, your truth, and your peace. Make us a blessing to the world around us.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Family - Luca Buca

My youngest grandson, Luca, came to our house for a visit yesterday. On Thursdays, it's typical for him to come over to enjoy Redbird Childcare play with his Néné. I'm usually working in the back room at home on Thursdays, and at some point Luca will come tiptoeing down the hall if he hears me talking on the phone or clearing my throat. He'll look around the corner of the door and say, "Hi Papa!"

Sometimes, he'll be too busy with other things to stick around too long. But yesterday he thought he needed to get up on my lap and do a little work at the computer with me, which I thought was a splendid idea.

Once we got situated, we decided to do some important research into the behavior and habitat of penguins. Here's what we learned...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday Thinking - MacLaurinCSF

Before becoming the pastor at Valley Christian Church, I served for fifteen years as a campus pastor at the University of Minnesota. The campus ministry I worked with was Christian Student Fellowship. Last year, Christian Student Fellowship merged with another ministry, the MacLaurin Institute, to form what is now called MacLaurinCSF. I believe the new joint ministry is a very good thing, and I am currently serving on the MacLaurinCSF board of directors.

MacLaurinCSF's goal is to strengthen Christian intellectual life in this region by creating public space for leaders in the academy and church to address enduring human questions together.

On Thursday, February 2, MacLaurinCSF is presenting the 8th Annual Faith & Law Lecture. The lecture will be presented by Margo Bagley, Professor of Law, University of Virginia. It will focus on concerns and Christian perspectives related to organic seed growers and larger concerns regarding the patenting of "life."

If you are interested in this topic, please plan to attend, Thursday, February 3, 12:15pm, Room 30, Mondale Hall, University of Minnesota Law School (Westbank), 229 - 19th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55455.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday Words - What Could Have Been

I have quite a list of songs "in the can" waiting to be recorded. A number of them are simple meditations and others are scripture and worship songs I've been writing for church. It would please me greatly to get caught up with some overdue recording this year.

I'm hoping to record two projects in 2012. One will be a new collection of me singing and playing some simple songs. The other will be a new collection of scripture songs sung by church friends at Valley Christian. All my previous recordings are available here.

A good friend sent me a note last week asking me for the lyrics of an old song of mine that had crossed his mind. I was glad for the note because it's a song I had almost forgotten about, and one I want to include on my new project. The working title for the song is "What Could Have Been." The idea came to mw after meditating on Isaiah 48:17-19.

What Could Have Been
Saw you walking out the door
With ambition in your pocket and a thirst for something more.
Heard you promising yourself
You’d work twice as hard as anybody else.
Saw you turning on a friend
Some are winners, some are losers, some are means to get an end.
You should hear the things you say!
But when I look you in the eye
You just turn and pass me by
And I’m not the kind to make you go my way.

Your peace could have been like a river,
Your righteousness like waves on the sea,
Your children could have been like the sand,
Like the numberless grains they would be.

Heard you tell another lie--
In the old days you’d feel guilty now you never blink an eye.
Saw you tossing in your sleep
I guess you dream about the company you keep.
Saw you driving down the road,
It was quiet in the car so you turned on the radio--
They just play the same old songs.
And though I whispered in your ear
Loud enough for you to hear
You just turned the music up and sang along.

Your peace could have been like a river,
Your righteousness like waves on the sea,
Your children could have been like the sand,
Like the numberless grains they would be.

© Copyright by Dave Burkum.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Tome - C. S. Lewis / Real Morality

It looks like quite a number of people at church will be reading through Mere Christianity with me . In the early chapters of the book, Lewis attempts to show that there is a universal impulse toward the concepts of right and wrong, and that some ideas of morality are superior to others.

One of the strengths of Lewis' writing is his ability to come up with simple and helpful ways to illustrate the points he is trying to make. Here is an example of one such illustration from chapter 2:
If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must be something — some Real Morality — for them to be true about. The reason why your idea of New York can be truer of less true than mine is that New York is a real place, existing quite apart from what either of us thinks. If when each of us said 'New York' each means merely 'The town I am imagining in my own head', how could one of us have truer ideas than the other? There would be no question of truth or falsehood at all. In the same way, if the Rule of Decent Behaviour meant simply 'whatever each nation happens to approve', there would be no sense in saying that any one nation had even been more correct in its approval than any other; no sense in saying that the world would ever grow morally better or morally worse.
If you would like to read the book and participate in three book club sessions I will be leading, please do. You can find out dates and times for that book club on the Valley Christian Church website.

Mere Christianity is available in Kindle format, and is also available as a audio book from Audible.com.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Music - March on Washington 1963

Pictured above is Dr. Martin Luther King's visit to the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus in 1967. You can read more about that visit here. The building you can see in the background is the former Lutheran Student Center on Cleveland Ave. The event was held on the park/lawn just across the street from where I had my office during my years as a campus pastor at the U of M. Incidentally, if the photographer had turned to the left about 90º, the house that now serves as the MacLaurinCSF Center would have been in the background.

Below are links to the the folk music performed at the 1963 March on Washington. I was seven years old at that time, but I can still remember the impact of that music and how I felt as I heard it. The music of Peter, Paul, and Mary is about the only secular music I remember my parents having in our house. I believe I wore that album out.

Martin Luther King Jr. - "I Have a Dream" Speech

Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and others...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Supplication - The Radiance of Christ

Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus, is the true light than enlightens all people. Help your church to be illuminated by your Word and Spirit. Help us to shine so brightly with the radiance of Christ's glory that he is known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth.

Forgive us our sins. Renew us by your Spirit. Show us how to act, think, and live as Christ.

As you have forgiven us, make us merciful and ready to forgive those who have sinned against us. Give us the courage and the grace we need to restore relationships, heal brokenness, sacrifice our rights, and humble ourselves in order that we might experience forgiveness and reconciliation in our families, our friendships, our church, and our community.

O God, thank you for the freedom from sin you make available to us through Christ. Thank you for the saving and transforming power of your Holy Spirit. Renovate our hearts and minds. Help us to want what you want. Make us people who delight in your will, and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your name.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday Smile - Small Group Guitar

When I saw this last week, I smiled.
Maybe it will bring a smile to your face too.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Family - Tyler & Leagues

All this week, my son, Tyler, has been over in Wisconsin for a songwriting retreat with LEAGUES bandmates, Thad Cockrell and Jeremy Lutito. The guys have been hiding out to work on new music before heading into the studio to record their first full length album.

Please pray for Tyler and friends as they put their hearts and energy into making this band a success. They're all seasoned musicians who have certainly payed their dues. It would be so great if 2012 turns out to be the year things really take off for them.

The music industry is a tough and fickle place to be building a career. I'm hoping LEAGUES will find an enthusiastic audience, some amazing opportunities, and some solid advocates within the music industry.

You can find out more about Leagues on their website.

You can buy their 2011 EP on iTunes.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday Thinking - About New Hampshire

One of the blogs I keep an eye on is the First Thoughts Blog which is part of the website for First Things Magazine. Yesterday, there was a post from Joseph Knippenberg, Professor of Politics at Oglethorpe University, Atlanta, GA.

Knippenberg made some interesting observations about the New Hampshire primary and the top runners among the republican candidates.
...the 22% of the respondents who described themselves as evangelical or born again gave 76% of their votes to Catholics or Mormons, which is pretty close to the 45% of those who said they were Protestants (78%) and to the 35% of those who said they were Catholics (81%). The 13% who claimed no religious affiliation gave a significant plurality (47%) of their support to Rep. Paul, and a bare majority to the four Catholic or Mormon candidates. In other words, no religious group played identity politics; indeed, only 19% of the self-identified Catholics supported Catholic candidates. Indeed, the most self-consciously Catholic candidate, Rick Santorum, did significantly worse among Catholics (8%) than among evangelicals (23%).

Click Here to Read the Entire Article

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday Words - Morning Song

I came across this beautiful old hymn text quite some time ago. I put it to music and use it as part of my morning devotion time. You can also sing it to the tune of "Rock of Ages."

Every morning mercies new
Fall as fresh as morning dew;
Every morning let us pay
Tribute with the early day:
For your mercies, God, are sure;
Your compassion does endure.

Still the greatness of your love
Daily does our sins remove;
Daily, far as east from west,
Lifts the burden from the breast;
Gives unbought to those who pray
Strength to stand in every day.

Let our prayers each day prevail,
That these gifts might never fail;
And, as we confess the sin
And temptation's pow'r within,
Every morning, for the strife,
Feed us with the Bread of Life.

As the morning light returns,
As the sun with splendor burns,
Teach us still to turn to Thee,
Ever blessèd Trinity,
With our hands our hearts to raise,
In unfailing prayer and praise.

Words: Greville Phillimore (19thC)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday Tome - Foreword Thinking

I've begun to read through Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis once again. This reading begins with some material new to me as the edition I just purchased has a new Foreword by Kathleen Norris. Here is an excerpt from that foreword:
The "mere" Christianity of C. S. Lewis is not a philosophy or even a theology that may be considered, argued, and put away in book on a shelf. It is a way of life, one that challenges us always to remember, as Lewis once stated, that "there are no ordinary people" and that "it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit." Once we tune ourselves to this reality, Lewis believes, we open ourselves to imaginatively transform our lives in such a way that evil diminishes and good prevails. It is what Christ asked of us in taking on our humanity, sanctifying our flesh, and asking us in turn to reveal God to one another.
If you would like to read the book and participate in three book club sessions I will be leading, please do. You can find out dates and times for that book club on the Valley Christian Church website.

Incidentally, Kathleen Norris has written some wonderful books that I have thoroughly enjoyed. They include: The Cloister Walk and Amazing Grace.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Monday Music - Skypiper

Today, I'm posting my favorite song, Framer, track 3 on the new album from SKYPIPER. My nephews, Graham and Gabe, are at the heart of this indie/pop/rock band from Omaha. Yes, if your last name is Burkum you are required to make music!

You can check out the band's Facebook Page HERE.

Check out and buy their new album here. You can listen to full songs.

Skypiper is playing a show in Minneapolis this Friday night. There will be one or two bands playing before they hit they stage, so it's going to be too late for an old-timer like me. Maybe I can have them over for breakfast.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Sunday Supplication - What Matters Most

Father in heaven, when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, you proclaimed him to be your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit. Today, we ask that you would help all of us who have been baptized into his Name to live as your children. Help us to keep the covenant we have made with you, and help us declare with our words and our deeds that Jesus is truly our Lord and Savior, forgive us our sins.

Renew us by your Spirit. Show us how to act, think, and live as Christ. As you have forgiven us, make us merciful and ready to forgive those who have sinned against us.

O God, We thank you for your goodness to those who seek you. Give us the humility and the wisdom to seek you above all else. Give us the perspective and discernment to know what is true and what is real. Deepen our understanding of life. Help us to know what matters most.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Saturday Smile - Bad Lip Reading

What would happen if you took a lot of footage of political candidates, then took away the audio, then did a terrible job of reading their lips, and then created a new audio track that matches the video, but makes no sense at all?

See for yourself.

I know it's absolute silliness, but it does make me laugh. If you find silliness as amusing as I do, you can find more here.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Friday Family - Bark'm Canine Portraits

My nephew, Taylor Burkum, is a wonderful artist and has really found a great niche in the commercial art scene. He and his wife live in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area. Please visit his website, Bark'm Canine Portraits, to see the beautiful work he's doing. You can also visit the Bark'm Facebook Page to pass along any encouragement you have to offer. If you're a dog lover and you're interested in capturing your pet in a quality portrait you'll enjoy for years to come, let Taylor know.

It looks like Taylor may be on the cutting edge of this art trend. An article headlined, From Art House to Dog House, appeared in the January 4 issue of the StarTribune. It talks about a number of artists in the Twin Cities that are discovering the same niche.

Way to go, Taylor! I love the work you're doing!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Thursday Thinking - The Fresh Coast

I have been in love with Lake Superior since my first trip to the Boundary Waters thirty years ago. My most recent visit was with my wife in October 2011. I'm hoping to go up again this winter. The North Shore never ceases to be a source of refreshment and inspiration to me.

I'm thinking of the North Shore this week because I just learned of a new project called The Fresh Coast Project. It is an effort, by photographer Ed Wargin, to document the Great Lakes as thoroughly as possible via the media of photographic film. Fantastic! The website for the project has a number of photo galleries with some of the most beautiful images I've ever seen.

Visit the Website

From the website:

The Fresh Coast Project is the endeavor to capture the Great Lakes on film prior to the cessation of film as a photographic medium. But why is this important? Why has this project driven one photographer to do so now, before the chance is gone?

With decades behind the lens and working with film, professional photographer Ed Wargin has dedicated his craft and career to discovering the Great Lakes, one frame at a time.

From Ed: "I grew up in the Great Lakes, I've always felt the connection to it. Long ago, it became my goal to capture the grandeur of the entire Fresh Coast as an artistic, archival, and historical project. My initial aim was to retain its pristine image for future generations to enjoy, in the hope that it encourages forthcoming populations to care for, celebrate, and preserve this great resource. But along the way, the project became much more than this. There are historical repercussions to the loss of film. A piece of film is tangible, and provides an indisputable reference. A digital file is not quite tangible in that sense. You cannot touch or feel it, and therefore, from an historical reference point of view, you cannot guarantee that it has been untouched, unaltered. Think about all historical documentation going forward once film is gone - and how much we need tangible mediums to serve as reference points. In addition, consider the many environmental factors placed on our Great Lakes. My goal is also to create a body of work that will serve future generations of leaders, teachers, artists, legislators, citizens and stewards by allowing them to use these images of the Fresh Coast Project as a way to judge how the shores have changed, the impact we are making whether for good or bad, many years from now."

Read complete page...

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Wednesday Words - Prayer, Desire, and Faith

On Sunday, January 8, I will begin a new teaching series at Valley Christian Church called All Kinds of Prayer. The title of the series comes from Ephesians 6:8, "...pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." You can see an overview of the whole series here.

Each week we'll be looking at at a different facet or theme of prayer. As we do, we will take note of principles, people, and practices that can help us pray along that particular theme. The first week, we'll be considering prayers of humility.

A simple and humble prayer that I have grown to appreciate is one by Thomas Merton. It weaves humility, prayer, and desire into a beautiful expression of faith.

My Lord God
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following
your will does not mean
that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire
in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything
apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this
you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me
to face my perils alone.

- Thomas Merton (1915-1968)


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Tuesday Tome - A Year with Hafiz

One of the books I'll be reading very slowly through 2012 is a new collection of poems by the the fourteenth century Persian poet, Hafiz Shirazi. The collection, a gift from my good friend Jordan Peacock, is called A Year with Hafiz (Penguin Books) and contains a poem for each day of the year.

The poems are newly "translated" by Daniel Ladinsky, though rendering may be a better word than translation. Medieval Sufi poetry is difficult to translate because of the many-layered ambiguities and meanings bound up in the original language. To put it mildly, Ladinsky's Hafiz poems are not so much scholarly translations as they are dynamic reinterpretations.

Before reading the book, I decided to do a little research online to see what others think of Ladinsky's work. He has some great fans, but he also has some scathing critics. Some of the criticisms, I must confess, did resonate with things I saw in the book's preface and introduction, namely his egotism coupled with an inflated sense of his personal relationship with the "spirit of Hafiz." I guess I'll give the book an honest try and see how it goes. If I find Ladinsky too hard to take, I'll look for something else, perhaps 50 Poems of Hfiz (Cambridge University Press). If anyone has suggestions for other good Hafiz translations/renderings, I'd love to hear about them.

Some of you may wonder what it is that makes me interested in ancient Sufi poetry. Well, I'd have to say it all started with the poetry of Rumi who wrote a century earlier than Hafiz. I first discovered Rumi's poetry through the radio program, On Being. I find the mysticism and devotion of ancient Sufi poets to be very compelling in and of itself, but their spiritual insights and their appreciation of Jesus certainly grabs my attention as well. Take, for example, the first poem in the Ladinsky collection:

Listen to this Music
I am a hole in a flute that the Christ's breath
moves through--listen to this music.
I am the concert from the movement of every
creature singing in myriad chords.
And every dancer, their foot I know and lift.
And every brush and hand, well, that is me
too, who caresses any canvas or cheek.
How did I become all these things, and beyond
all things?
It was my destiny, as it is yours. My poems are
about our glorious journey.
We are a hole in a flute, a moment in space, that
the Christ's body can move through and sway
all forms--in an exquisite dance--as the wind in
a forest.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Monday Music - Stoplight Kisses

I've been posting a lot about The Cactus Blossoms in recent weeks, but it's only because they've been getting so much good press. Just last week they were mentioned in the StarTribune's Twin Cities Critics Tally 2011: Songs, live acts, 'signs of life.' The song, Stoplight Kisses, was in the critics' list of "Favorite Songs of 2011."

If you take a look at all the individual ballots, you'll see that KFAI's Cyn Collins (host of "Spin with Cyn") included The Cactus Blossoms in her list of best albums of 2011. Farmington correspondent, Jim Meyer, also put The Cactus Blossoms in his list of best albums of 2011.

Jessica J. Paxton, of KYMN Radio in Northfield, listed The Cactus Blossoms as #3 on her ranked lineup of best albums of 2011. She also placed, Stoplight Kisses in the #1 slot on her list of best songs for 2011. Freelance writer and City Pages contributor, Peter Scholtes, included The Cactus Blossoms on his list of best live acts.

Click Here to buy the CD.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Sunday Supplication - New Year's Day

Eternal Father, you gave your incarnate Son, Jesus, to be our salvation. Place within our hearts, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world.

Thank you for the forgiveness and renewal you have given to us through Christ Jesus. Help us to extend forgiveness to each other and help us grow into a redemptive and healing community. Help us to have a redemptive and healing impact on the world around us.

O God, in this new year, help us to find our lives in you. Give us faith that makes us able to commit all things to you. Give us hearts to love your will and to serve your purposes. Shape and strengthen us to follow Jesus wherever he leads. Whether by life or death, may Christ be exalted in us. Help us to press on to take hold of all you have in mind for our lives.

We pray these things in Jesus name. Amen.