Free Holy Week Music: Cool Hand Luke’s “Of Man” & Lent Mixtape

All of us know that one of the things that can affect our mood like no other is music. And so, to that end, I wanted to tell you about one of my favorite albums ever, by my favorite band ever (they’ve had that title since I was in high school, so I promise, I’m not just exaggerating for effect), Cool Hand Luke’s Of Man.

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a Philly Holy Week schedule | Lent 2012

First of all, my church has been raising money to purchase and deliver over 1,000 meals to needy families around the city for Easter. They are delivering these meals on Saturday, and they really need drivers for the deliveries. It would only take 2 or 3 hours of your time, and you can pick which hour you begin. Click here to sign up. Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for this.

Thursday: Maundy Thursday Service
liberti: center city, 17th and sansom, 7pm
This day commemorates Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples and his washing of their feet.

Friday: Good Friday Service(s)
liberti: center city, 17th & Sansom, 6:30pm
On Good Friday, Christians remember Jesus’ death on a cross for the sake of the world. liberti will hold a service of songs, Scripture readings, and darkness

city church, at Woodland Pres Church, 42nd & Pine, 7pm (with meditative prelude at 6:45pm)
A Tenebrae service that mournfully observes the darkness of Jesus’ death and our need for God’s redemption (Tenebrae is Latin for “shadows”). Worship with us as our Lenten focus on God’s deliverance culminates in Jesus’ statement on the cross: “It is finished.”
(This is the Good Friday service I always go to. It’s amazing, and if you’d like to join me, let me know. We can carpool.)
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more free music for Lent from New York Hymns

For anyone that keeps any sort of track of the Church music scene, they will know that it is sort of a fad nowadays to update older hymns with modern music, instrumentation, and melodies. Some of my favorite groups that do this are Indelible Grace, Red Mountain Church, Sojourn Music, and Redemption Hill (my old church in Richmond). I love all these acts, but even they are hit-and-miss in some of their executions.

A newer group (I think) on this scene is New York Hymns.
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Please Oppose SOPA & PIPA in Congress. Here’s why & how.

UPDATE: I wrote a follow-up piece to this protest that might be worth your time if you care about this issue.

As many people know (especially in the circles that read this blog), today is the official “blackout day” for many sites in protest of two proposed bills before Congress: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). They are each supposed to be attempts to address the problems of piracy and copyright infringement on the web.

First, let’s be clear. Most of the people opposing these bills are not trying to protect piracy and illegal activities. These are problems, to be sure. Those opposing these bills are merely saying that there are much better and much more specific ways to do this. The bills, as currently written are so broad in their scope and definitions, that most any website, and most every individual who currently casually uses the internet will at some point be guilty of the felonies spoken to in this bill. I am not exaggerating. I am not talking in extremes to scare people. (It almost makes one think the bills were intentionally written that way. They are also weighed down with a lot of political corruption.)

This is serious. Why?

Supporters of the bill are painting those that oppose it as merely reacting to the general idea of the bills rather than the “substance” of them. This is false. You may have heard that that the sponsors of the bill recently struck the “DNS blocking” provisions from the bills. This is not even close to the scariest part of the legislation. It is the very substance of it that is the scariest. I would really beg each of you to read the following few articles to get educated on the specifics of these bills, what’s wrong with them, and what to do something about it.

What to do?

Sign Petitions

Write your Representatives in Congress

If you go to the Wikipedia (English) homepage, for just today, you’ll see it’s blacked out in protest of the bills. If you input your zip code, you can find your representatives in Congress and convenient links to email or call them. Below, you will find the email I wrote to my Representatives and Senators (my senators’ emails are currently down due to heavy traffic. I’m hoping that’s a good sign). Feel free to use it as a template if you like. If you get this when Wikipedia’s tool is not available, you can also find your representatives at the House website and the Senate website. Please act!
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Christmas Sing-Along House Show on December 9th!

The Birdhouse (the house/venue I share share with the manliest of men) is having another house show. All of them have been pretty fantastic, but I’m expecting this one to blow the others away, because this will be a Christmas Sing-Along show. Yes. You read that right. Each act will do some originals, but the majority of their set will be sing-alongs for all of us to join in. Here are the details:

The Birdhouse presents, vol. 4: Deck the Halls
Friday, December 9th at 7pm
2204 Catharine St Philadelphia, PA 19146

If you’re interested in coming, check out the Facebook Event Page and RSVP. Also be sure to go to our website and listen/download recordings from the other shows (the album for the second show might be coming soon). Then come on by and bring any food, drink (especially cider), and merriment you may have to spare and enjoy the evening. This will be epic. Confirmed musicians for the evening (so far):

  • Josh Schurr
  • Luke Bartolomeo
  • Ashley Haugen and Jen Huber

art that makes me cry (thank you, Jen Huber)

This is another amazing piece called “Broken Hold” (original post) by one of my favorite artists and closest friends, Jennifer Huber (I’ve featured her art here before). In all seriousness, I just started crying looking at this and just had to post it. This particular piece reminded me a lot of one of my favorite songs by some other good friends of mine (who are also amazing artists), the band My Epic. You can find the song and the lyrics below. This piece especially reminded me of the last line of the song. Enjoy.

“Communion” by My Epic [Spotify] [YouTube Continue reading

It’s Official: House Show #3 on September 30

The Birdhouse (the house I have the privilege of sharing with some great guys) has been host to a couple of amazing house shows–that fact has never been in question. The only real question (since last December) has been “when is the next one going to be?” Well, we now have an answer to that.

The Birdhouse presents, vol. 3: The Comeback
Friday, September 30th at 7pm

So if you’re interested in coming, check out the Facebook Event Page and RSVP. Also be sure to go to our website and listen/download recordings from the other shows (the album for the second show is coming soon). Then come on by and bring any food, drink, and merriment you may have to spare and enjoy the evening. This will be epic. Confirmed musicians for the evening (so far):

  • Lauryn Peacock
  • Drew Skinner
  • Kimberly Stoltzfus
  • Maxwell Greene
  • Paul Burkhart

Weekly Must-Reads {06.20.11} | a New York Times Op-Ed miscellany

This week, as I compiled my favorite reads for the week, I realized nearly all of them were from the New York Times. I found these on different days, at different times, and had no idea that I kept bookmarking the same site over and over again. But still, all of them are very different and I encourage you to peruse, read, ponder, and post your thoughts!


Instead of Student Loans, Investing in Futures |

Ever since the financial crisis hit, I’ve been so intrigued by other economic models for getting things done. This article follows one idea when it comes to funding higher education. And it really seems to work. I also love that this particular idea was not dreamt up by nor financed by the government.

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Weekly Must-Reads {03.21.11}

I will be spending most of this week at a conference in St. Louis (see below). Blogging might be a little light. I may try and sneak away at some point, but I can’t make any promises. For that reason, this week’s Weekly Must-Reads list is a little longer than usual. In it, we have articles about fat Christians, single Christians, disagreeing “liberal” Christians, and other writings about business and the media. People really seemed to enjoy the last list I posted. I hope this one also serves you all well. And remember: comment, comment, comment!

Liturgy, Music, & Space | Bifrost Arts

This is the conference that I will be attending this week (Facebook page). It’s being put on by an artist’s collective known as Bifrost Arts. They have some amazing music that you should all check out, including one of the most beautiful Christmas album I’ve ever heard. Also check out this video of some of the things they are doing.

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House Show at my place TOMORROW!

birdhouse shows

After the amazing success of our first house show several months ago, we just had to have another one.  Therefore tomorrow, Saturday, December 4th at 7pm in Philadelphia, we are having our second house show entitled The Birdhouse presents, Vol. 2: The Housecooling (Go to the Facebook event page for details and to RSVP).  Our house, as a venue, is called “The Birdhouse” (it’s even on Foursquare).  The show’s gonna be really, really good.  This time around we have four main acts performing (with me doing a little intro set).  Acts include:

  • Chris Currie (formerly of Full Fathom Five) & friends
  • Luke Bartolomeo (novelist, poet, and editor of the Monongahela Review)
  • Heath Warner (also known as “Paul Warner” by day)

We will be recording this evening and putting online for free, just like the first show (Chris also played at that one, though just by himself).  We will have some drinks and snacks, but feel free to bring a six pack, a bottle of wine, or some food (baked goods are always welcome!).  See you there!

Somebody Redeem this NOW!

Monday I showed how someone could take some bad Christian culture and redeem it to truly honor God.  Well, thanks to Andrew Vogel, a good friend and former classmate, whose comment showed me another video that really needs to be redeemed, remixed, or just removed.  Here’s the video.  If anyone has any ideas, I’m all ears.  Big.  Floppy.  Ears.  Somebody get some GaGa in this thing.

HOW TO: redeem bad Christian culture

There will be very little commentary from me here.  I just want to show everyone a process of the Kingdom of God breaking through Christian culture to redeem it.  First, watch this. Please, watch the whole thing.  Whatever you do, do not stop this video before the 2-minute mark.  You might want to take notes.

Then, see how the “secular” culture (if there was ever such a thing) comments on this, care of Talk Soup:
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Free Recordings from our Housewarming Show

A little more than an month ago, myself and my roommates held a Housewarming show to inaugurate our new presence in South Philadelphia.  In all, we had six musical acts play, 32 songs performed, and almost 60 people attend.  It was an amazing night.  One of the best I had had in a long time.  For all those that came, thank you again.

We also live recorded the music that night, and today, we are proud to officially release The Birdhouse Presents, Vol. 1: The Housewarming. Those recordings are now available for download for free (or donation, if you like).  The album comes in two editions.  The Color edition has the evening broken up by individual song; the Black & White edition contains each artists’ full sets, including the talking, joking, and intros between each song.  Just click on the banner below and pick your edition:

The recordings themselves are a bit quiet, but are fine with headphones or external speakers.  They came out really well.  As a preview, here were some of the covers and songs everyone seemed to enjoy a lot that night from each of the performers:

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Free Philly Concert for the 4th: The Roots & Goo Goo Dolls


For those living in Philadelphia, tonight (on the 4th of July) will be what is supposedly the largest outdoor concert in the country (really?).  Last year they had Bruce Springsteen come in and play.

This year?  Well, the Goo Goo Dolls are headlining (I had no idea they were still around).  But that’s not why I’m writing this.

One of the other acts is Philly’s very own The Roots.  For much of the country, this band gained notoriety as Jimmy Fallon’s band on his late night show.  For me, they’re perhaps my favorite hip-hop ensemble out there.

Their new album How I Got Over came out a couple of weeks ago.  It is amazing; one of the best hip-hop albums released in the past few years, in my opinion.  I’m working on a review of the album for Patrol Magazine, so to prepare, I’ve been listening through The Rootsentire discography this past week.  Wow.  What a group.  I can’t wait to see them tonight.  And if you’re around, you should be just as excited to come out.

Beauty: Revisited

As most people know, last year I gave a seminar/lecture/sermon thingy at my old church, Epiphany Fellowship.  The topic I spoke on was Beauty.  I spent about nine months doing research, reading, talking, and thinking before ultimately delivering it last August.  Recently, I updated some parts of the manuscript for a friend and thought I’d post the updated manuscript.  There aren’t too many changes.  The main updates happened in the last half of the manuscript.  I also updated the language of the manuscript overall to make it more appropriate as a written piece rather than a manuscript for speaking from.  I’m hoping to use this as the core of one of the first books I’m working on that I’ll actually finish.  After the break is the full “Table of Contents” for each part of the blog series I did going through each individual part of the manuscript.  Those blog parts have not yet been updated.  Here are the the updated full written Manuscript, the audio of my “lecture”, and an appendix with the Greek/Hebrew breakdown of the words for “Beauty” in the Bible.

Click for Appendix Pdf

Language Appendix

Click for Manuscript Pdf

Full Manucscript

Click here for sermon audio

Full Audio

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