Tag Archives: music

Kinetic Composition

I’ve been fascinated for a while now with a particular artistic motif which depicts King David, ruler of ancient Israel and credited author of many of the Psalms, in the rapturous throes of composing. Many images of David with his harp/lyre can be found dating right back through the early middle ages, but many of these are also of a somewhat static, poised David. As art became more expressive of emotion in the Renaissance and beyond, the figure of David became more dramatic. And David, as an artistic figure, is particularly suited for drama. Continue reading

Soul Attack


A pang of emotion shot through my stomach the other day—a stab of mysterious longing that unbalanced me as I was returning to the office from my lunch break. Transcendental yearning overwhelmed my faculties in the parking lot, and under the weight of my own soul, saturated with qualia, my knees weakened. I had a soul attack. Continue reading

Advent Songs


The season of Advent has arrived. But nothing kicks the legs out from under our observance of Advent like premature Christmas songs. Advent, as I’m sure you know, is the season leading up to Christmas, designed to focus us on the hope and expectation of Christ’s arrival, his advent in the world. It does this by reminding us that the world was in darkness before Christ. And it also uses that remembrance to bolster our desire to see him come again in glory at his second and final advent to dispel for good all lingering darkness. The spirit of Advent, then, is of watchfulness and waiting. Because of this, Christmas songs are inappropriate to the spirit of the Advent season. They don’t jive; they’re incongruous. Continue reading

How To Pick A Song For Church – Part 1

St. Ambrose

Who picks the music in church and how is it picked?  This has been my privilege and burden since planting a church five years ago.  I began with the understanding that this was a privilege, but quickly learned that it’s also a burden.  As our little church slowly grew into its rich, ancient heritage, I began to feel keenly the burden of choosing music to accompany our blossoming Liturgy.  This burden was greatly lessened when I discovered the ancient Proper Chants of the Western Church which accompany certain moments and actions in the Liturgy (Procession, Offertory, Communion).  These chants, prescribed for every Liturgy and linked with the lectionary readings, have been basically settled since the end of the first millennium A.D. and adhered to pretty universally throughout the West. Continue reading

Entertainment Detectives

I almost never go to see movies in the theater.  The cost/worth ratio of most movies is just too high.  I could go into how repulsed I usually get at my theater-mates for their disgusting and distracting snacking habits, “whisperings,” chair-kickings, and ill-conceived entrance/exit strategies, but I’ll just say I think the tickets have gotten too expensive.  Anyway, my point is that I usually catch movies after they’re out of theaters, which means I’m always late to the discussions about them. Continue reading

It’s Golden

I used to cut grass a lot. Growing up, it became one of my around-the-house duties, and through high school and college it was a good way to earn cash. I spent many hours pushing a mower around, and it eventually came to be somewhat of a sacred time for me. The simplicity of following lines in the grass and the constant hum of the motor created space in my head for deep thought, creative melody-making, and revelatory prayer. Continue reading