Friday Music


Something happened last week that has never happened: a record company sent me a download of a new album. It wasn’t a corporate missive: it was personal.

It was for the new ‘Welcome Wagon’ album. I have blogged on them before: New York minister and his wife and friends with the legendary Sufjan Stevens hovvering in the background. Intent on producing music that speaks and isn’t twee whilst at the same time pursuing their primary calling as pastors.

I picked up this review on Amazon by a customer of an earlier CD that says it all for me:-

‘I am also a pastor of a local church. I have always been almost ashamed of the lack of apparent creativity coming from most mainstream Christian musicians. I listen to virtually no Christian radio, believing that if Christian musicians were using their God-given talents in His service, we (the church) would be making the most creative and compelling music in the world. Sadly, that has not been the case in my humble opinion…..There is a definite focus on song arrangement, instrumentation, and balanced true-to-life production techniques. A very welcome break from the smarmy, over-produced, breathy vocals of most mainstream “christian” music. ‘

And it is: musically itself and not pandering to any CCM slush, good songs about life and faith, rereadings of some old hymns (why do they speak more?) and just lovely. I have been playing it for the last week.

You can buy at Amazon and preview (and later buy) at

The continuing adventures of a slide into heresy…

The Welcome Wagon ‘Deep were his wounds and red’

Bruce Springsteen ‘Reason to Believe’

The Prodigy ‘Invaders must die’

…all played next to each other on random shuffle. So, so wrong and yet at the same time so right. My whole life randomised and put back together in dissonant sections and yet seeming to ‘work’.

At the weekend, our group of churches (in Methodism we call it ‘a circuit’) were looking at Genesis 17:1-8 and the story of Abram/Abraham. As I get older I find his story incredibly life affirming. His story is riddled with inconsistencies- you get everything ‘warts and all’ (I am sorry- I am not a great writer- I use cliches).

His story is a long way from the hagiographies of my early Christian experience: come to God, be saved, onwards and upwards and get rid of all worldly things. Being weak, I learned to pretend/cover up my inconsistencies and dissonances. I suspect others did too: that bit is holy and that is not- therefore I will hide it: lets sing another bouncy song about God making me h-a-p-p-y. Eventually the screaming inside got too much and I stopped pretending….but traces are still there.

I’m grateful to Abram/Abraham for waking me up to reality and not some imagined holiness. I’m grateful to my ipod too for hiding nothing and putting the dissonant together: sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but that I guess is the story of my life…