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How do you mark important events in your family’s life if you blog?

You could take the approach of ‘Little Jocasta, bless her, has just completed her PHD in time for her 11th birthday, now dances for the Ballet Rambert and is looking forward to her England hockey debut. She has lots of aaamazing friends, rides her own pony. By the way we live in a massive house, have lots of money and everything is so successful and shiny.’

I have read posts that are a bit like that with polish up life to an unnecessarily bright sheen.  They used to depress me in that I did not live in the sunlit uplands that they seemed to inhabit. Now I mostly feel sorry that the posters are so insecure.

My youngest son is 14 today. The first time I marked his birthday on this blog, he was 5. I could say he is ‘amazing’ , ‘fantastic’ and a whole host of other adjectives. Of course he is: if you are a parent, there is something seriously wrong if you don’t believe this- it comes with the territory. There is also something seriously wrong when you pretend that your family life is a bed of roses.

I can’t say too much about him: whereas younger kids don’t have a great problem with their images posted on line or their personalities talked up, teenage boys do. I guess I could wish for him success, health and happiness, but I’m more drawn to this song/prayer: I don’t want him to be an alpha male who crushes those weaker than him on his way to whatever his future is, to be cruel to be kind, to do unto others before they do it unto him or to look after number 1:-

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Happy Birthday, Ben!

Friday Music

Here is a quote from Steve Turner about CCM (Christian mainstream popular music) after he played a track to a rock journalist:-

“I felt embarrassed. The music is paralysingly dated. There is no fire in it. There is no innovation and energy. The music is basically a prop for the lyrics which sound like a groovy Californian sermon. The music and the words don’t mesh together and the sentiments are pretty wet.” (Steve Turner, Imagine, p101)

I am in the same place. Music that I have that is explicitly ‘Christian’ is few and far between. I have occasional lapses and then usually come away and think ‘I have been cheated’. Ok: there is some good stuff out there, but it is generally outside the CCM heartland of bland.

Someone who I have a lot of time for as a person and a musician is Paul Field. I can just about forgive him for ‘The Millenium Prayer’ (I did say ‘just about’), but some of his stuff I really like. Some of it is because of him: he is holy but not safe- I introduced him once at a Christian convention, cracking a joke (which 50% of the audience thought was probably incompatible with faithful Christianity….not the subject matter- just humour full stop) and got to like him.

Two tracks sometimes make it onto my damaged ipod (thank you 10 year old son): ‘Go peaceful’ and this one which I featured a couple of years back:-

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A prayer/a song/whatever

The i pod has been a godsend!

Something locally has been brewing for years and is beginning to explode/unravel. This has been at it’s height this week. Normally I do not suffer from this, but some nights sleep has been hard to come by or I’ve been waking up too early. Occasionally my back muscles have been knotting. This is not good.

I’ve got into the habit of listening to this song a lot. In fact I’m using it today in worship.

I may have posted this song before. I love it and it has become a kind of creed for me. Hearing it, the tears begin to form (and this is from someone who does not ‘get’ Christian music). I once met Paul Field and had a chat with him: fantastic man- not squeaky clean, but real. I can’t link the music as I do not have the software- treat yourself on i-tunes- you know you want to.

Go peaceful, in gentleness, through the violence of these days,

Give freely, show tenderness in all your ways.

Through darkness in troubled times, let holiness be your aim,

Seek wisdom, let faithfulness burn like a flame

 

God speed you, God lead you, and keep you wrapped around his heart,

May you be known by love.

 

Be righteous, speak truthfully, in a world of greed and lies,

Show kindness, see everyone through heavens eyes.

 

God hold you, enfold you and keep you wrapped around his heart,

May you be known by love.

 

God speed you, God lead you, and keep you wrapped around his heart,

May you be known by love.

 

…. may you be known by love….

 

more music…

paulsmall2I don’t really ‘do’ Christian music. I never apologise about that; I’m sorry that is just the way that I am (cf Homer Simpson). Part of that may be an unreasonable prejudice; I became a Christian in the 80s- I loved music and someone suggested I listen to ‘Christian rock’. I listened to what the person suggested and thought it was a bad copy of the ‘real thing’. I’m sorry….. it’s just me…..

I have deep philosophical and theological objections to the ‘Christian music scene’- why do ‘we’ need a seperate scene- if it’s good enough it will survive, people will buy it, and if it’s not- they won’t. Hmm…. and isn’t there something about being salt and light somewhere…

…..and that is an overlong introduction to some ‘Christian’ music that I do like. One song that has been bouncing around my brain the last few days is ‘Go peaceful’ by Paul Field. Last week I outlined my immense fame (ie I had a letter published in a music magazine). Well- a few years back, at a Christian festival, I introduced Paul Field to an afternoon meeting.

A sunny afternoon, indoors, is not the best location for music- but there were loads of people there. I opened up by commenting on this and saying ‘It is true; book a Field and they will come’…………at least some people laughed and I was told off for using humour and irony in a Christian gathering (ok, I made that clause up).

You should listen to the song – only 2:43- but I find the lyrics to be like a creed:-

Go peaceful

In gentleness

Through the violence of these days

Give freely

Show tenderness

In all your ways

Through darkness

In troubled times

Let holiness be your aim

Seek wisdom

Let faithfulness

Burn like a flame

God speed you

God lead you

And keep you wrapped around his heart

May you be known by love

Be righteous

Speak truthfully

In a world of greed and lies

Show kindness

See everyone

Through heaven’s eyes

God hold you

Enfold you

And keep you wrapped around his heart

May you be known by love

May you be known by love

(probably a lot more wholesome than ‘Chelsea Dagger’ by the Fratellis that my children currenly like as their wayward and sinful dad has got them into…)

He was a ‘top bloke’… he wasn’t squeaky clean and didn’t pretend to be- that really appealed to me. Wish I could get hold of the recording- he spoke freely and was brutally honest (yet gracious with it) about the ‘Christian music scene’. Check out http://www.paulfield.com/. Ok- he once wrote a song for Cliff Richard, but everyone can make a mistake….