Friday, January 29, 2010

When was the last time...

[image by ajstarks] listened to a choral project?

I love choral work. I love the harmony and the precision required to make a choral piece excel. But it's been awhile.

These days I serve in a church that has a full band, a couple of vocalists usually, strong multimedia elements and the occasional texting exercise in our service.

We're what some people call contemporary, what my mom would call too edgy, what others call over-produced, we're what churches like our's call relevant, welcoming and we love your kids.

All of that to say that I don't have a real regular call to incorporate the latest octavo into our services.

But I come from a background of years of exposure to some of the best choirs and choral work in the church world.

I grew up in a large church that had a choir of 200 and for the first 13 years of my career I worked in the church music industry promoting all of the best musicals and octavos and hearing them performed by amazing choirs.

And while styles have been and will continue to be debated, there is something to be gained from all of them.

So, when was the last time you listened to Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir? or whoever your favorite choir is? Has it been too long?

I guarantee there is something to be gained by stretching your repertoire. Whether you add that element to your services or not, there is something to be learned, ideas that can be incorporated that can make your existing style better.

So, I think I'll put that on the playlist today. How about you?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thought Explosion

I am continuously in awe of the vastness of opportunities for learning, connecting, engaging and communicating offered by the web. It is so exciting and sobering at the same time.

With this little box of buttons and screen I feel at times as if I can do anything. Any given day I am brushing up on my photography skills; studying scripture; learning about parenting, web design, graphic design, leadership, arts in the church; connecting with friends from decades ago and others just down the street; finding entertainment for myself or my family; even answering the age old question, "Mom, what's for dinner?!"

Specifically, opportunities for community and relating online amaze me and concern me. I am on twitter, facebook, linkedin and host 4 blogs. So please don't read this as if I am not a fan of online relating, I just find that there is a very false sense of security in this form of relating. We let our guard down in this venue much more so than in person.

Recently, my friend, Paul Steinbrueck of LiveIntentionally and Christian Web Trends, wrote a post that I thought gives some great reminders and guidelines for managing online relating. Perhaps if we all were mindful of these the false security and skewed online relating would be kept at bay. Check it out and tell me what you think.

[image by Matt Hamm]

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gratituesday - Winter

Living in Florida I really have no concept of winter. At least not the kind of winter folks in Minnesota know. I've grown up knowing many Christmas and New Year's days on which I could wear shorts or even go to the beach.

This year, though, we've had a bit of winter.

It's really been funny in some ways. Our "winter" has consisted of several weeks at this point. During which I've been quite amused to sit back and watch all of the comments by my FL friends revolve around the bitter chill we are struggling against day in and day out and when will it end?! :)

Other than our temporary personal discomfort, I have seen some lasting effects of our winter. I noticed some of them just last week on my afternoon walk.

Plants all over my neighborhood are no longer fresh and green looking. They are instead brown and wilted and miserable looking from the effects of frost.

As I was noting this on my walk two thoughts came to me. The first?

Spring is going to ROCK this year!!! My absolute favorite season of the year is spring with its newness and life and color. I love it! And I love it even more when it follows a dark, cold winter. It makes it that much more to appreciate. So, this year, after the cold winter we've had, spring is going to be amazing!

My next thought was as I passed a particular house. (please note, I'm about to sound really snobby and judgmental so if that sort of thing offends you you might want to stop reading now.) As I began to pass this house I heard myself think - Well, they really could use this cold winter to kill off some of that overgrown jungle they have going on in their yard!

No sooner had the thought passed through my mind as I felt very convicted. I wonder, how often God could say the same of my life?

I know that it is in the winters of my soul that God is able to sort through the overgrown junk I have been holding on to and kill it off and make room for new life.

So, in my neighborhood and in my life, in a real, deep and sober way I am very grateful for winter. After winter comes spring... and this spring is going to ROCK!

[image by Ava aka GeorgiaOnMyMind]