Thursday, April 26, 2007

"MInd & Spirit" -> The Might Bruce Cockburn

Hi there, the man to the left is Bruce, Bruce Cockburn. Bruce, I would like you to meet the reader of this blog.

There, introductions are made.

By the way, I met Bruce a number of years ago, when Bruce was still in his 30's. He is a bit older now, but he has a lot of good stories to tell you.

I'd like you to meet him, because he has a good chance of changing the way you look at life. The only way, however, to understand Bruce is to first understand what you are listening to now and contrast him to the music of today.

For starters, since Bruce is from Canada, let's talk about songs from somebody from this nation as a contrast.

If you listen at all to any modern music, you can't get away from the latest song by Avril Lavigne, which for all practical purposes is a remake of "Hey Micki, You're So Fine."

Here's a snips of some of the lyrics from this hit song, from her latest album:

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I know that you like me
No way! No way!
No it's not a secret
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I want to be your girlfriend

Now, mind you, I actually enjoy the beat, and the lyrics are fun. Afterall, the song could have been plucked out of the music from 25 years ago.

However, I have to wonder about the vacuous nature of the song. Perhaps Averil is a bad example. Aren't there more "thinking man's" type bands?

Or we could to bands with "more spiritual sides" such as Coldplay. The hit from their last album X&Y is the song "Speed of Sound." Let look at a few lines.

Ideas that you'll never find,
All the inventors could never design.
The buildings that you put up,
Japan and China all lit up.
The sign that I couldn't read,
or a light that I couldn't see,
some things you have to believe,
but others are puzzles, puzzling me.

Pretty much pap isn't it? Not much there (other than an enjoyable copy of the song Clocks, also by Coldplay).

So, know let us turn our attention to the brilliant music of Bruce Cockburn (pronounce Co-burn), who has a strong cult following. Probably best known for his angry song about a disaffected man desiring to down a helicopter flown by repressive South American government with a rocket launcher, he is generally not all that well known outside of his native Canada.

At an age of 61 years old, we might expect that Bruce has slowed in his approach to life. Maybe his poetry is dull, and his passion less bright. For an answer to this question, we can look to his latest album "Life Short Call Now."

Let's look at his song "This Is Baghdad."

Car bombed and carjacked and kidnapped and shot
How do you like it, this freedom we brought
We packed all the ordnance but the thing we forgot
Was a plan in case it didn't turn out quite like we thought

This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad

Back by a sense of musicianship and a voice that has cried out beauty for many years, Bruce is nothing but a shining light. Bono of U2 listens to Bruce, and is known to be a fan. His lyrics stretch, and some times even go over the top. However, Bruce is always stretching and always reaching. There have been lines of poetry in his songs that have stuck with my for years.

Perhaps, they should stick with you too.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Spirit and Mind" -> Send A Child

The Christian faith has always had a tremendous tenderness toward children. When you contrast this to other belief systems, this is one of the overwhelming marks that Christianity has left on our society.

Matthew 19:14

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

This verse is found in all three synoptic gospels. It was a command that all of the gospel writers felt that they must proclaim.

The stories in the Bible about children are captivating. We have the story of Hannah, who prayed very, very hard for a child, and the Lord listened. We have the story of Sarah, who gave a child long after the time for bearing children was done.

These stories thrill us and excite us. What a gift a child is to us.

Children are the Christian's birthright.

Because of this, we are always sad when a couple that want a child cannot have a child. Such an instance happened to to some of my friends. I was reflecting on this, and it drove the following lyrics.

Send A Child

Little hands,
Little feet,
Broken Glass
Sounds so Sweet

Sunday school,
Babies cries,
Just one Child,
Before we die

Send a child unto us,
Lord now,
Send a sign unto us,
Oh Lord,
Miracles can occur,
When we ask
When we ask

Make this house
An awesome home, with
Messy hair from
Our broken combs

All picked out
The crib is there
Crisp white sheets,
And a, Teddy Bear

Send a child unto us,
Lord now,
Send a sign unto us,
At Calvary,
Miracles can occur,
When we ask
When we ask

Sarah’s womb,
Was open wide.
Proving God,
Will Always Provide.

Mary’s child,
Will come to earth,
Joseph’s pride,
In this good child’s birth

Send a child unto us,
Lord now,
Send a sign unto us,
At Calvary,
Miracles can occur,
When we ask
When we ask

Song can be found here.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

"Spirit" -> Stories Of Miracles

Let me tell you about my friend Pastor Joe who is standing here with me. His name is really Joseph, but his friends call him Joe.

Joe is from the mid-west, and only has been in California about 7 years. If you ask him how he got here, he would answer "well that is really quite a story."

It is a story worth hearing.

Joe, or Joseph, was working in the ministry and decided to come out to California for a couple of weeks. As a side note on this conversation, he had told the Lord that he was going to wait for his timing for marriage. He wasn't going to force it. If the Lord wanted him married, then the Lord would have to provide a wife. A step of courage that most Christians are afraid to take.

When he comes out to California, he meets a wonderful Irish lass in the Church. He feels a strong attraction toward her. Displaying wisdom greater than most of us, he reaffirms that he will first seek the Lords will. Attraction to a woman is fine, but doing the Lord's will is better.

One morning, during his visit, he is praying and meditating. And a word from God comes to him. With great certainty, he knows that the Lord God almighty wants him to wed a woman name Mary. He is disappointed because the woman that he felt so attracted to was of a different name.

So he packs to go home, and he happens to have several "teaching tapes" from from a seminar that this Irish woman did. He figures he might as well listen to one or two of the tapes, and he reaches to for one. However, he feels the Lord tell him, "not that tape." A bit perplexed, he grabs another tape. He puts it into the tape player.

The tape starts, and the familiar Irish voice come on, and she starts off by saying, "well most of you don't know it, but my middle name is Mary, and this is what my family calls me..." He sits in shock. The Lord had given him a word that he was to wed Mary.

The woman that wasn't Mary is Mary.

Somehow, he finds her number.

At the same time, this woman who family calls her Mary, is praying to the Lord. She also is attracted to this man from the mid-west. She feels called to know him better. She prays, "Dear Lord, if you want me to marry this guy, let him call me." The phone rings and it is Joseph.

This was seven years ago. They wed, and he is leading a new Church in the area.

This is another story of Joseph and Mary.

Now maybe you think there are accidents in this world, but I believe in providence. If you act in faith, the Lord will deal with you in faith. If you believe in nothing, you will get nothing.

Nothing flows to nothing.
But the righteous become right.
He is God.