The next three things

I love Tom Wright’s simple, cheerful response to the question about balancing life in the video below (at right about the 1-hour mark): “I get up very early, say my prayers, and do the next three things that have to be done.”

Which for Tom Wright happen to include putting right centuries of Pauline scholarship, revolutionizing New Testament historical contextual understanding, and challenging most modern Western thinkers’ worldviews.

Sure Tom. Just the next three things. #allinadayswork

Advertisements

A short update, and songwriting

It has been a while. But I’ll keep it short.

Things are shifting a bit for me. Soon, I hope to be making more time again for worship, songwriting, music in general. I have new songs. I have plans to record a new album. I’d like to launch, probably, a Kickstarter project to fund it. I hope to be running a bit more worship training too with Ichthus here in London.

I hope to be able to start telling you more about it soon. I’m very excited about some of the songs that I’ve been working on. I’ve been trying to stretch myself a bit. Keep broadening the themes I write on. Read More…

Songs for Sundays – new album from Resound Worship

Some friends of mine just did a thing.

I was pleased to be one of the Kickstarter backers for Songs for Sundays, a new project from Resound Worship, and it arrived in the post today!

Headed up by Joel Payne – who I’ve known since my days as a student in York (he led the worship team at St Michael le Belfrey at that time) – Resound Worship is a collective of writers from across the UK, also comprising my friend Chris Juby. Chris is a worship leader at King’s Church, Durham, a church that is a link of ours here in London (Ichthus). He’s also famous for tweeting the Bible which once got him named one of CNN’s ‘most intriguing people of the day’.

Anyway – introductions aside – this project has had a very deliberate vision from the outset: to produce a set of worship songs written for the local church – with the very ordinary circumstances of Sunday morning parish worship services in mind. Read More…

Writing Better Lyrics, by Pat Pattison – book review

I’ve just finished Writing Better Lyrics.

Let me try that again: I’ve just finished reading the book entitled Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison. This book has already cropped up once or twice on the blog. It was recommended to me (and a room full of other starry-eyed songwriters) by Graham Kendrick – the father of modern worship songwriting, and I am ever grateful to say, my cowriter on ‘Holy Overshadowing‘.

Pat Pattison is a professor at the Berklee College of Music, and has clearly obsessed about lyrics in ways only a professor who turns up in jeans and a leather jacket can. (That link is a YouTube video of a seminar Pat did at IMRO.)

Seeing as you might only be interested in this book if you yourself are a songwriter (or perhaps a poet, or even just a ‘writer’ (I know . . . no one is ever ‘just’ a ‘writer’ . . . )), well, given that, I’ll cut to the chase. Read More…

Wiggly Words

I found some words at the bottom of the garden –
Slimy, squirmy and more –
I took those words, hastily squiggled,
And shoved them in a jar.

I tried to catch some fish with them –
Slippery, silvery and wet –
But those tired adjectives didn’t make good bait,
Left me angling in regret.

I took a few words to the refuse heap –
Like biodegrade, rot and soil –
But those nouns and verbs were so sleepy and slow,
And yielded a pathetic spoil.

The children at school rather frightened my words,
For they flopped and burrowed and hid;
And when they got pushed through some hideous backwards letters,
I wrested them from those bumbling kids.

I did everything I could with those wiggly things,
Even failing to enamour the birds;
But now that it has all been said and done –
I guess I’ll have to eat my words.

Autumn’s Eaves (poem)

Then leaving Summer’s sandy shores
Now beckoned by the breeze
We donned our jumpers, hats and boots
And entered Autumn’s eaves.
Into the whisper, rustle and crunch
Adjusting to the cold
Watched age and sunsets run like fire
And light the world in gold.

No bonfire night or fireworks
Could near compare to this
We know not how, but we are here
Where, crowning all our hopes and fears
The victory wreath of nature’s year
Reminds us of our bliss.

When in the dusk we turn our feet
And wade through fallen leaves
And wrap our dreams in winter coats
Remember Autumn’s eaves.

Pacifism…s

I have been interested in Christian pacifism for quite some time. Jumped on board when I first heard about it, actually. The idea that Christians should be committed to a non-violent way of life because Jesus was non-violent was, and still is, a no-brainer. I suppose what I mean is that I was already a pacifist except in name, from the time I had grown up in a church context that believed it, and through becoming familiar with stories about Jesus from a young age. Christian pacifism proved to be the label for something I already believed but had never articulated.

I hate violence. It should make every human sick to the stomach – yet sadly we know that all too many people have exercised violent aggression, and too many more people have become victim to it.

Pacifism is never a ‘passive’ stance. To hold it is to put oneself (ironically) in conflict with a world that uses violence to get its way. I will continue to be a pacifist and resist the worldly urge to succumb to violence in order to control and dominate, and follow the way of Jesus who did not resist the violence done to him but overcame through the way of love.

Anyway, all this is to introduce what to some readers might seem like a more frustratingly academic point. Having got your passions on board with those opening paragraphs, I wish to pause and point out with the head that, as one begins to read around the subject of pacifism, one encounters quite a broad spectrum of applications – historically, politically and theologically. Read More…