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“A Word That Would Light Up The Night”: Listening to Nick Cave’s Ghosteen in Advent

This one comes to us from our friend Robbie Sapunarich. As a relative newcomer to Anglicanism, I’ve found Advent, while not totally unfamiliar, has been welcome and refreshing. I also deeply appreciate a phrase I read in various places that seems popular in Anglican circles: “All may, some should, none must.” It’s a principle that, […]

Let Heaven and Nature Sing: The Inspired Stories of Christmas Carols

Each December, my church hosts a carol sing in which the wider community participates. About a hundred people gather — families, college students, older folks, Christians and non-Christians — to sing through the wide Christmas canon, everything from “The Grinch” to “Silent Night.” After we run through a few songs, we descend onto the downtown […]

December Playlist: HBBJ 2019

Give thanks for the birth of Christ… then give the drummer some!

Image result for james brown christmas

What We’re Watching and Listening to, November Edition: The Crown Season 3 (and a Couple Other Things)

This contains spoilers from Season 3 of Netflix’s The Crown. Carrie Willard Netflix released Season 3 of The Crown this past week, and there is simply too much to unpack all at once. I’ve been enthralled since Season 1, and again in Season 2. This third season is so very good, and so very rich in […]

When Jesus Tells a Boob Joke: Dolly Parton’s America

It has not been easy for me to listen to the new podcast Dolly Parton’s America. I feel like I am hearing a preacher point to the most self righteous places in me and calling them out. I feel a deep connection to the women in my family. And also Dolly Parton’s America is the […]

Classic Jazz, Pinot Noir, and Law/Gospel Couplets

He had ice water, I had the remnants of a large bottle of pinot noir. We clinked cup and bottle in a toast. He had been invited into the fellowship of the fellas — my exclusive man-cave or rather man-dungeon (I’m poor after all). It had been a long weekend filled with parental demands and […]

“What’s the Point?” Hip Hop, Rico Nasty, Vanity, & Grace…

“…All things come alike to all: One event happens to the righteous and the wicked; To the good, the clean, and the unclean; To him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner; He who takes an oath as he who fears an oath. This is an […]

November Playlist

Got a little funky this time around, thank God. Music-heads should be able to discern the subject of the next episode of The Well of Sound… To listen to (most of) it on Spotify, click here.

The Moral Dilemma of Jesus is King

My friends and I approached the concession counter. (One of us wanted Milk Duds.) An employee, a black woman, glanced over and inquired which movie we three white men were seeing. I replied, “Kanye’s,” with a hopefully self-aware smirk. She rolled her eyes and shook her head wryly. A lot of people have some thoughts […]

Another Week Ends: Time-Wasting Projects, Serotonin, Destination Funerals, the Hope of Children, the Languages of Love, and Jesus is King

1. Ear Hustle is a podcast about incarceration. It shares stories about life in San Quentin prison and the reintegration into life that follows a sentence there. The final episode of the recent fourth season is a hard story of reconciliation between a police officer and the man who shot him and went to jail […]

Stormzy Takes Glastonbury to Church

Stormzy is a star in the UK and has the following to prove it. He’s the first black solo artist headlining at Glastonbury, but who’d have thought that a pop concert with tens of thousands of people–and no Kanye–would become a worship service? The lyrics are spectacular and the whole scene is profoundly moving.

ht JMGB

All I Want is a Wink from the Cross: Arcade Fire’s Everything Now

In Arcade Fire’s 2017 album, Everything Now, the pop rock crew provides a sweeping commentary on loneliness, relationships, and (the search for) rest in a digital age. While Arcade Fire stays true to its anthemic tracks, soaring vocals, and visceral sound, the heavy doses of loneliness leave me incrementally sadder with every listen. The album […]