Lord save us from Your followers...

Author of the excellent 'Blue Like Jazz', Don Miller, has posted a challenging story today. Don is one of the speakers at the Echo Conference (A media and mech conference for creative church leaders) and, along with other speakers, has been given a seriously luxury hotel suite to stay in. Don's immediate thought was to gather up the 'brains' to blue sky together to change the world. The next day the conversation with the organiser went like this:
Scott McLellan, the big man who runs the conference and I started talking and I told him thanks for all the square footage because I like to run wind sprints. He said when Dan Merchant walked into the room, the first thing he thought was that he should go gather up a group of homeless guys to stay there for the night. That made me feel like crap.
Dan Merchant is the guy responsible for the film above...



We all fall short of glory...

The 7 Link Challenge
  1. Your first post - Seeing a No Entry sign and chain right across the entrance to a local church cracks me up (and saddens me) everytime I drive past. Managing to finally have photographic evidence was the incentive to start blogging! Next post showed how the pub approached it
  2. A post you enjoyed writing the most - Having listened to the Podcast called GodPod #53 I saw an opportunity to respond and release my thoughts about art, music and have another pop at modern worship music.
  3. A post which had a great discussion - My heartfelt post about struggling to understand Anglican obsessions Let me Through I'm an Anglican provoked comments with concern and resonance. The picture is not about voting with feet and more about our when offering resource(s) is turned away by attitudes of the 'shouty loudest' minorities.
  4. A post on someone else’s blog that you wish you’d written - This has to be an articulate outburst by musician Steve Lawson taking the greedy record companies apart as a result of the threat of the Digital Economy Bill. Steve's post also includes his favourite post of 2009.
  5. Your most helpful post - Slightly tricky to determine so probably embedding the very clever World Cup Planner I tracked down, lots of return visits to check updates and results.
  6. A post with a title that you are proud of - It's got to be Spinal Tap meets Chequebook Worship.
  7. A post that you wish more people had read - It was one of those Memes that I pondered over muchly: I need(ed) some Time to Think...!

From: ProBlogger h/t The Church Mouse

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Cathead Resonator Ghosplehand Lowebow

RiSiNG STAR FiFE AND DRUM BAND W/Special Guests! ~ Shimmy She Wobble @ NMHCP 2010

Led by Sharde Thomas on the fife, The Rising Star Fife & Drum Band performs "Shimmy She Wobble" with Ricky Davis of Blue Mother Tupelo on guitar, Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars and Hill Country Review on drums, and Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars and the Black Crowes on bass. This song was recorded at the 5th annual North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic, a two-day event which takes place in Potts Camp, MS.

The North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic is hosted by Kenny Brown who played guitar with the late blues legend, R. L. Burnside. The event is patterned after an annual event held for decades by the late Otha Turner of Gravel Springs, MS who is Sharde Thomas' grandfather. Ms. Thomas learned to play the fife from Mr. Turner. The Otha Turner family picnic (sometimes called the Goat Roast because goat sandwiches are served) is still held in Gravel Springs, MS each year on the last weekend in August.



Massachusetts' everlovin' Ten Foot Polecats have released their first proper album entitled I Get Blamed For Everything (Hillgrass Bluebilly Records). This follows their excellent EP Sterno Soup which came as a nice dirty surprise outta nowhere. No surprises here other than TFP is a couple years harder, several thousand miles tighter, and countless gigs wickeder. A lot of bands that play blues are content to play the same ol' warhorse covers that have been beaten to death to the point they give off a stink that makes me sick. Ten Foot Polecats is a blues band that kicks the crap out of the original and gives it a new lease on life so that if your band wants to cover, say, T-Model Ford's Chickenhead Man it's TFP's version yr gonna need to contend with. But unlike a lot of other bands out there that claim to play blues TFP's originals stand just as tall and worthy as their covers. This is a band that has done it's homework at the College of Musical Knowledge but don't let that get in their way of laying down their own thing. You'll hear the Wolf prowlin' CCR's swamp and R.L. Burnside shakin' it with early seventies J.Geils Band. But all that good sexy mess is run down Ten Foot Polecats-style. TFP bring new life to three-piece blues. This ain't no toothless panama hat blues. Ten Foot Polecats bring the vibe, the groove, the mystery, and the balls that blues music must have to carry on to the coming generations. Another fine and powerful recording by one of the best blues bands out there. Hail.

Tenfoot Polecats @ MySpace
Tenfoot Polecats @ Facebook
Tenfoot Polecats OnLine

From I Get Blamed For Everything ---> BUY!
Chickenhead Man MP3
Dryspell MP3
Couple More Miles MP3

From the Sterno Soup ep ---> BUY!
Work Me MP3
Thought I Heard MP3

RiSiNG STAR FiFE & DRUM f/Sharde Thomas (granddaughter of Othar Turner) @ NMHCP 2010

Another Max Shores shot!


Where two or three are gathered...

Have been musing on this picture that did the rounds shortly after the recent soccer World Cup final. Of course it is most likely a mock up, some clever image manipulation to convey a message that is still true. However, this picture can convey additional messages...

Have you also been told that in the same way you can't be a true football / soccer fan unless you actually attend matches you have to attend church to receive fullness as a Christian? I have always found that analogy uncomfortable (despite loving going to football matches!), so I am grateful this picture helped unfold an extra layer of interpretation...


DEViN MiLLER ~ I AiNT THE ONE (Hotel Garbage Can Demo)

Yr pal Devin Miller sent me this little demo. 
I thought it was great but about seven minutes too short.

Remembering Live Aid...

Sometimes seems like yesterday! The 13th July 1985 was an extraordinary day and everyone who watched Live Aid was blown away by Queen's transcendent performance, re-launching them to a new audience and Freddie Mercury giving all the other bands a serious lesson in stagecraft!

Did I ever tell you about the honour of working with his Freddieship? Oh yes, so I did!

SCOTT H BiRAM ~ Live From Sugarhill Studios

Scott sez ::
Here's a short live acoustic set I did a few months back. This was shot for an in-studio video series at the Legendary SugarHill Recording Studios in Houston, TX. I played a couple new songs that I had only started to write 2 days before. They've already evolved since...

(Don't be scared by the thumbnail on the video.
 It's a dude from NoBunny. Not Mr.Biram)


Please Support The Music Maker Relief Foundation

XO to Mary Anne Mclaurin-Norwood

Jeff Buckley - BBC Soul Music Take 2

<a href="http://peterbanks.bandcamp.com/track/bbc-soul-music-didos-lament">BBC Soul Music - Dido's Lament</a>
Sadly music mega-corp Sony has removed the YouTube video of Jeff Buckley I had included on my earlier post about the BBC Radio 4 series Soul Music. Checking the visitor stats for this Blog it is clear the post that featured anecdotes about Dido's Lament, including the legendary performance by Jeff Buckley, still has plenty of visits. Therefore I risk providing a capture of the audio right here for your listening pleasure, any legitimate request to remove it, for copyright reasons, will be immediately honoured!

Sarah Connolly on singing it as a Mezzo Soprano - 00:00 to 01:26
Jeremy Summerly on the history and Alison Moyet - 01:26 to 02:21
Alison Moyet sings and talk about the piece - 02:21 to 05:37
A contributor talks about the meaning for her - 05:37 to 06:36
Sarah Connolly talks more about the text in the piece - 06:36 to 07:39
Jeremy Summerly expands on Purcell's masterpiece - 07:39 to 08:45
Philip Sheppard on his life changing work with Jeff Buckley - 08:45 to 13:50


The Gospel of Cognitive Surplus...

Clay Shirky has just become a bit of a UK Blog Buzz after an article about him was published in the Guardian last Monday, one in the usual round of interviews when an author's latest book is published. He has been using the phrase 'Cognitive Surplus' for a while in his talks including drawing the analogy to the recovery from drowning sorrows in gin when trying to cope with the trauma of transformation from rural to urban life early in the last century.

In a 2008 talk he makes this point:
If I had to pick the critical technology for the 20th century, the bit of social lubricant without which the wheels would've come off the whole enterprise, I'd say it was the sitcom. Starting with the Second World War a whole series of things happened--rising GDP per capita, rising educational attainment, rising life expectancy and, critically, a rising number of people who were working five-day work weeks. For the first time, society forced onto an enormous number of its citizens the requirement to manage something they had never had to manage before - free time.

And what did we do with that free time? Well, mostly we spent it watching TV.

And it's only now, as we're waking up from that collective bender, that we're starting to see the cognitive surplus as an asset rather than as a crisis. We're seeing things being designed to take advantage of that surplus, to deploy it in ways more engaging than just having a TV in everybody's basement.
We have a positive way of making a difference, by not wasting more of the precious resource of time. It is clear how this applies to charities as well as businesses and particularly to the church. It is interesting to see that Mr Shirky is not so active online himself and along with David Keen's 'final' blog entry today issues a further challenge to be considered...


Seven Deadly Social Sins...

The image of the Gandhi quotation poster above arrived in my Sojourners mailing as a 'free bonus' for signing up for a subscription. Although the quotation was familiar I still decided to follow my instinct to Google for a bit more background and was impressed by this analysis from Dr. Stephen R. Covey. Dr. Steven is one of the world's leading management consultants and author of the best selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The section I found most interesting was on Religion Without Sacrifice (which on the poster is quoted as 'Worship without Sacrifice', revealing?!):
Without sacrifice we may become active in a church but remain inactive in its gospel. In other words, we go for the social facade of religion and the piety of religious practices. There is no real walking with people or going the second mile or trying to deal with our social problems that may eventually undo our economic system. It takes sacrifice to serve the needs of other people - the sacrifice of our own pride and prejudice, among other things.

If a church or religion is seen as just another hierarchical system, its members won't have a sense of service or inner workship. Instead they will be into outward observances and all the visible accoutrements of religion. But they are neither God-centered nor principle-centered.

The principles of three of the Seven Habits pertain to how we deal with other people, how we serve them, how we sacrifice for them, how we contribute. Habits 4, 5 and 6 - win-win interdependency, empathy, and synergy - require tremendous sacrifice. I've come to believe that they require a broken heart and a contrite spirit - and that, for some, is the ultimate sacrifice. For example, I once observed a marriage where there were frequent arguments. One thought came to me : "These two people must have a broken heart and a contrite spirit toward each other or this union will never last." You can't have a oneness, a unity, without humility. Pride and selfishness will destroy the union between man and god, between man and woman, between man and man, between self and self.

The great servant leaders have that humility, the hallmark of inner religion. I know a few CEOs who are humble servant leaders - who sacrifice their pride and share their power - and I can say that their influence both inside and outside their companies is multiplied because of it. Sadly, many people want "religion," or at least the appearance of it, without any sacrifice. They want more spirituality but would never miss a meal in meaningful fasting or do one act of anonymous service to achieve it.
Read the full article here.