Saturday night, David and I went to see Matthew Perryman Jones perform. I only knew of him through other Nashville voices we love, and I don’t have a ton of his music. But we loved his show. He has a remarkable voice and is a talented writer.
One song that stood out to me was “O Theo,” which is based on the letters Vincent VanGogh wrote to his brother Theo. The song provides a sad and beautiful picture of VanGogh’s mental illness and how he used his art to try to battle the demons in his head.
So, I set fires of starlight/To burn up against the despair
I was caught in the tangles of midnight’s/Long, unanswered prayer:
‘Are you there?’
The Starry Night
I have just two things for you today.
One, if you have had it up to here with political advertising like I (and my children) have, head over to this Random Political Rhetoric Generator for a couple of laughs. You can take important stands like, “I want an America where internet pirates and violent video game makers cannot corrupt our cherished national parks.”
Two, this article by Carl Trueman is a highly influential one for me when it comes to music in the church. I return to it now and again to recalibrate and ask questions of myself and others: What Can Miserable Christians Sing? Here’s a taste:
A diet of unremittingly jolly choruses and hymns inevitably creates an unrealistic horizon of expectation which sees the normative Christian life as one long triumphalist street party — a theologically incorrect and a pastorally disastrous scenario in a world of broken individuals. Has an unconscious belief that Christianity is — or at least should be — all about health, wealth, and happiness silently corrupted the content of our worship? Few Christians in areas where the church has been strongest over recent decades — China, Africa, Eastern Europe – would regard uninterrupted emotional highs as normal Christian experience.
Trueman wrote a follow-up piece for the 9marks blog earlier this year that is also worth a read.
Last night David and I were sitting in the dark living room, exhausted, talking about our day, and I mentioned that I’d seen the set list for The Local Show’s Rich Mullins birthday tribute show.
We talked through some of the songs and realized that some were unfamiliar to him. He didn’t have the album that they were on…so many years ago.
It was then that I had the unique experience of introducing my husband to a twenty-plus-year-old “new” song, one that I wore out on my cassette of Rich’s The World As Best As I Can Remember It, Volume 2.
But I remember what Susan said
How love is found in the things we’ve given up
More than in the things that we have kept
And he said, “That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that song, and I’m hooked.”
I wonder what Rich would be writing now if he was still here.
(This seems like a good time to put in a plug for one of my favorites, Andrew, who is releasing a greatest hits album. There are some new songs on there, too.)
We’re studying modern history this year in school. There are so many great missionary stories to be explored; this week, we begin with Eric Liddell. Later on we’ll get to Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, and others.
They inspire us…to keep on.
Stand Up and Get the Tissues Ready: I’m sure you’ve seen this by now, but in case you haven’t, here’s a beautiful spontaneous rendition of the national anthem from a choir conference.
If you are interested in Charlotte Mason education, the Childlight blog is a nice place to start. Here’s a good article from the last month called A First-Time Mother’s Perspective.
My wise friend Michelle wrote this article that I posted to the memorial site this week: How to Walk with a Friend in Grief (hint: it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and there is no finish line)
I’ve been taking in a lot of Rabbit Room artists over the last two weeks. You should probably just stick an IV in my arm and hook me up to Rabbit Room radio. Here’s one that will make you laugh, Andy Gullahorn’s “Skinny Jeans.”