Sunday, January 27, 2008

Symposium thoughts

After three long days of Worship Symposium I'm back home and ready to dive into the new semester. But first things first – for the next month you can hear Debbie Chavez interview me on KMGI radio from Bellingham, Washington. If you go here and scroll down to January 23 you can hear me in segments 2-5.

That was Wednesday night, the night before Symposium, so it was great for me to be able to do that (it was actually still afternoon on the west coast) and then move on to thinking more about symposium. I presented my session twice to a nice sized group (about 150-170 total over the two days I think) and also go to play bass with the Alternative Worship group as they lead a group in worship on Friday evening. It was a good experience for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that my daughter Bethany and my good friend Ron were both leaders for this service and so I got to see a bit more of the behind the scenes stuff that went on. I also got to know Doug Gay, from Scotland, a bit and hung out with Luke Hyder from Milwaukee and local musician/friend Greg Scheer . We lead with three of Doug's songs written specifically for this occasion. It was cool.

The worship services were stellar, as usual, with the service lead by Calvin's LoFT team perhaps being my favorite. Trig Johnson preached and did a wonderful job and my daughter Meredith played viola along with the team (which she does often) but also got to accompany Michael Card. She got to know Card and Calvin Seerveld a bit by assisting them in their workshop on lament. It was really good.

I also got to hear Scott Hozee, Jane Vann, Dallas Willard and Richard Ostling (who was interviewed very nicely by my friend Nathan Bierma.) Where else can one have breakfast with Calvin Seerveld, lunch with hymn writers Rae Whitney and Ed Doemland, and share a walk with Lester Ruth? Or run into Jorge Lockward and Jimmie Abbington and have a brief chat on your way to get coffee.

They also handed out my new books (see them here and here) to the people who came. You can see the picture of the books all stacked up and ready to be handed out. One exciting moment came as Laura and I sat down to lunch with three delightful people who we had not met before. I looked over to see a woman sitting alone at a table reading my book. Pretty cool.

I'm already excited about next year.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Getting Ready for Worship Symposium 2008

This week is the 2008 Calvin Symposium on Worship. I've attended a number of these symposia, something like 10 of them, and I look forward to it every year. Some of the most well respected people in the field of worship leadership from a broad range of denominations and from around the world will be at Calvin College this weekend.

I'll be presenting twice about "Creating a Child Friendly Culture in your Church" and my daughter Bethany will also be presenting about emergent worship or something like that. It will be good to see her again - she's flying in from Georgia to speak. Laura and my daughter Meredith will also be there - Meredith will be playing in the worship band twice and helping Calvin Seerveld and Michael Card out by singing in their session. So it looks like my family will be well represented there as will two new books with my stuff in it: my new book, Helping Our Children Grow in Faith as well as Howard VanderWell's The Church of All Ages, in which I have a chapter on "Intergenerational Faith Development" and Laura and I have an additional chapter on "Intergenerational Connectors in Worship." Bethany has a short piece in it too!

Since Laura and I have attended so many of these we will see people we know and get a chance to visit with old friends. We're really looking forward to it. Then, almost immediately after that, the new semester starts! The night before symposium begins (Jan 23) I'll be interviewed on KGMI radio in Bellingham, Washington at 3:15 PST. Those of you in the pacific northwest (like Kent!) might want to listen in. it will be my first radio interview about my book but probably not the last, I'm already trying to find a date that works with a station in Philadelphia.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Radiohead: In Rainbows

I've gotten a bunch of new music over Christmas break - most of it from groups I had not heard much of before like The Spoons, Feist, Sara Bareilles, The National and Radiohead. I had not spent much time with Radiohead although I had listened to OK Computer a few times and enjoyed it when I was in the right mood. Their new album, In Rainbows, jumped to have a firm place in both my car and my iPod. I was thinking about what I liked about it and found this review, Radiohead: In Rainbows - PopMatters Music Review, that did a great job of summarizing much of what I like about the album so, instead of me writing this one, daunting since I'm not a huge Radiohead fan and many are calling this one of the top albums of the year, I'd just send you over to the review. I would especially like to point out this paragraph that nicely sums up what first grabbed me about the album:
Radiohead themselves seem to be ready to move on during opener “15 Step”. The song starts in well-traveled Radiohead territory—a heavy drum loop bumps and chugs along while Yorke’s trademark whine waxes paranoid, singing “First you reel me out and then you cut the string”. Jonny Greenwood layers some surges of static over all of that and the formula is set. That is, until a surprisingly docile, sliding guitar riff comes in, setting a contrast that carries through the entire album, where everything calm turns out to be decidedly not, and everything anarchic is more childlike and giddy than sinister. As the song pushes on, a battle arises as drummer Phil Selway takes on the drum loops, playing fast and precise as ever, and eventually he wins out. He finishes the song, and the rest of the record rests on his sturdy shoulders.