Good music has been in short supply this summer, but that was until I discovered Mark Mathis. I hope that Christian music continues to go this direction. The folk/country sound is more conducive to thoughtful lyrics and good storytelling than chorus driven rock N’ roll. The former allows theological insight to be woven intelligently through narratives, while the latter provides a platform for expressing raw (mostly stupid) emotions. If you have ever felt dumb after listening to the average Christian rock song, tune into Josh Garrels, Sufjan Stevens, orDamien Jurado to recapture your imagination. The banjo and slide guitar is the straight and narrow these days, and Mark Mathis travels it elegantly. Listen to “Sharecropper Takes A Colored Wife” if you can.
All I knew about John McCain’s military service was that he was a POW and experienced some torture at the hands of the Viet Cong. Yesterday I read the 12,000 word personal account he gave in 1973, and it is absolutely amazing. Yes, I know it is an election year, but no matter what you think of McCain his story is worth hearing.
Christianity Today’s Out of Ur Blog has an uncharacteristically shrill piece criticizing two high profile leaders of the emerging church movement and their latest books. The what’s-new-in-Christian-ministry blog is usually tepid and uninteresting as it follows the constant metamorphosis of Willow Creek’s seeker sensitive strategies, but today the author called Mark Driscoll “a preaching newbie in need of guidance.” My jaw about fell off. Tony Jones doesn’t fair any better as he is said to have “presented himself and the [emergent] movement as condescending, contradictory and closed.” The blog has invited a response from the two authors; whose reactions I’m sure will be predictable (Misrepresentation! Feminized men!)
In other news, I have spent two weekends now fixing bikes. First, my roommate’s bike got a flat tire while I was celebrating Uncle Sam day. I blamed the British for having to walk and bus it three miles home. Second, my own 50 year-old contraption nearly fell apart on me while I was riding down to the lake. The three-speed hub was out of snych and jamed up causing me to come to a screetching halt. If it wasn’t for the omniscience of this crazy old guy, I would have been lost on how to repair it. Lots of little gears, O-rings, and grease to go around, but I somehow was able to get it back together and working properly.
Truly it was a triumph. My mechanical aptitudes are sketchy at best. Sometimes I wish I was better at fixing stuff, because instead of being an aloof philosophy wonk, I could obtain the wisdom and social nobility of a Sheldon Brown.