23 Apr 2019

Beauty from Ashes

On April 15th, the world watched in sadness—and sometimes in quiet song—as vast portions of Notre Dame Cathedral came down in a blaze. Many mourned the loss of a place of such history and culture. But still more mourned the loss of a great bastion of beauty in the world. Tears were shed by some who had never even visited the Cathedral (my crying-averse self hesitantly admits that I was one of them), because we

Guest Author 0
06 Dec 2018

Why is Twenty One Pilots So Popular?

The first time I heard Twenty One Pilots’ “Guns for Hands,” I was hooked. The engaging melody, catchy chorus, and fun beats drew me in. And I soon realized that I was not the only fan of the quirky musical duo. Over the past few years, Twenty One PIlots has skyrocketed to the tops of charts. Their large reception led Rolling Stone to describe them as “the biggest new band of the past year” (referring

Jacob Quick 0
16 May 2018

The Refrain of the Kingdom

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:1-3 NRSV). In music, a refrain is

Jarrett Dickey 2
22 Jan 2018

Ears to Hear: The Books

This is the first article in a series of articles on music with artistic or spiritual significance. A few months ago, I received a $50 iTunes gift card. Choosing a track or album to purchase on the iTunes store is always a daunting experience. With millions of options available, selecting what to buy can be overwhelming. As a musician, I tire of listening to more and more of the same. With this in mind, I

Jarrett Dickey 0
11 Jul 2017

Reflections on a Mega Church Experience

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending Bethel Church in Redding, California. For those unfamiliar with this church, Bethel was founded in 1952 by Robert Doherty and grew steadily from the 1960s to the early 1990s. Following the call of current senior pastor Bill Johnson in 1996, Bethel underwent a time of divisiveness followed by a period of tremendous growth. Currently, Bethel has approximately 9,000 weekly attendees—easily categorizing it as a mega church—and

Jacob Prahlow 2
30 Nov 2016

A Holy Hallelujah – A Tribute to Leonard Cohen

2016 seems destined to be remembered for some time as the year we lost the most icons. Obviously, I mean that in the popular entertainment sense, rather than the religious sense. Growing up Fundamentalist Baptist, I was not introduced to pretty much any of these folks until well into my adulthood at best, and so I’ve been getting acquainted with them posthumously, in turn as they each pass. The latest loss, Leonard Cohen, has been

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
19 Aug 2016

Resuscitated by Art

Does music ever make you see? Does it break your heart or spill hot tears over your lashes? Does music become your voice when you cannot find the words to express your grief, sorrow, or hope? Music paints vistas on the mind—sunsets over mountains, starlight over tawny grasses bent by the breeze, snow on trees, russet leaves kicking up in the dirt lane. Certain songs carry a mood with them—autumn fog and rain, driving under

Johanna Byrkett 4
25 Apr 2016

Have You Noticed Beauty?

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe I have noticed that many people claim that humans are animals. After all, we are mammals and are classified as Homo sapiens in the scientific realm. But that is

Johanna Byrkett 2
10 Aug 2015

Call It What You Will

Though many would argue that the “worship wars” of the 1990s are over, I have found that the church persists in its usage of some linguistic weaponry from that era. In past decades, conversations about worship have polarized worshippers into opposing camps: especially “traditional” vs. “contemporary.” These terms are based primarily on expressive style in worship, largely related to music. I want to suggest that we abandon the use of these words altogether, as they

Guest Author 6
03 Mar 2015

Freedom

Freedom, I’m told, is the absence of tyranny. I realized one day that everybody’s got an idea of the kind of freedom they ought to have, mostly inaccurate. History and human nature proves that humans have a strange habit of running straight to tyranny at the least provocation. It’s because we’re mixed up about freedom.  Without comprehending tyranny in its worst form, no one will cling to real freedom. Real freedom isn’t doing whatever we

Amanda Hill 1
29 Oct 2014

Get Jesus, Get Happy

I asked my nephew once whether he thought God wanted us to be happy. His answer, not surprisingly, was a resounding yes. When I asked him why he thought that, he said, “Because it’s fun.” When I pressed him for more information, he got rather tired of the discussion and went off to play. After all, he was only five years old. I had a good chuckle. I even wrote a blog post about it

Amanda Hill 2
22 Oct 2014

Notes of Silence

If there is one thing that modern people are surrounded by, it’s music. Radio for the car (if you’re not plugging your phone into the speakers), streaming services for home and office, music piped through coffee shops and shopping centers – it’s not that difficult to live with a steady diet of music. In my own experience, spending the last month and a half in the middle of nowhere highlighted just how much music I

Jeff Reid 0
15 Oct 2014

Whatever is Lovely

Art is a beautiful thing, and the ability to produce it is a wonderful gift from God. Whether it takes the form of music, the written word, hand crafted images, or even a film, a well-crafted piece of art can serve as an excellent manifestation of God’s good creation and the potential beauty of our world. However, the sinful nature of mankind frequently distorts and abuses the gift of art, as it has done with

Nicholai Stuckwisch 1