Just my stuff

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TobyMac – Me Without You (Official Lyric Video)

Toby Mac is one of my favorite Christian pop stars. He’s married to a woman from Jamaica, and perhaps her Island roots influence in his music. Whatever the case may be, I find he’s great to listen to in the city.

The past few weeks have been extremely challenging for me. No, not because of my romantic life. Something far more fundamental than passing relationships has been rocking my boat for the past little while. I won’t go into the details because, well, it’s my personal life. And there are boundaries between that and my web life.

Anyhow, I mention this because yesterday I felt sorta blah at one point. And it was this tune that got me moving and into the shower. After that, I went to a downtown Mass and was good to go for where I had to be in the evening.

As the song goes… “where would I be… without you.”


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Christian pop comes of age

I remember while doing my PhD in Ottawa, there was a group of Bible-based Christian guys living in a house near my apartment. To me they seemed nice enough, even if, so I thought at the time, they were sitting around loafing all day.

Turns out I later came to believe they were for real and, instead of loafing, they played a part in my rediscovery of Christianity (the religion of my childhood but one that I didn’t really practice as a kid).

One day I was talking to one of the guys about how I liked the Bible, and out of the blue he said “read Isaiah 55: 6-9.” When I later read the passage in the privacy of my home, it hit me really hard.

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Verses 6-7 summed up where I was at back then, searching every false dream and getting nowhere. And 8-9 sum up how I feel about God today.

Anyhow, to get back to the music, the Christian guys were into Christian rock and I could often hear it blaring from their home as I walked by. To be honest, I thought it was lousy back then. And I still think a lot of it isn’t that great. But after dating someone who knew about that music, I started to appreciate just what Christian pop has to offer.

So providence being what it is, I happened to come across a box set of Christian pop in the dollar store. Mostly older stuff that doesn’t have much current marketability. But I bought it and liked it. And now I listen to WOW Hits and, every now and then, streaming Christian radio.

I still enjoy mainstream pop. Unlike ultra-conservative homilists who say everything about mainstream Western culture is bad (I converted to Catholicism in 2001), I believe God works in the arts too (duh…). And it’s really nice when a song hits with everyone, not just a select band of religious believers, which can get a bit cliquey and stagnant.

One of my most exiting pop discoveries is the American singer Mandisa. I think this woman is just waiting to hit the big time. What a voice. And what utterly groovy music! Combine that with a good, sincere message, and you’ve got… My Deliverer.

I probably listen to this song at least once a day, preferably through headphones while out for a nighttime stroll. It rocks. But I don’t think it would work through cheap computer or laptop speakers. So although I’m posting it here, give it a fair chance and listen through a good sound system. 🙂

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What If – Nichole Nordeman

Here’s another Christian pop tune that I stumbled across in my travels. I like the song and don’t really know if it needs a video. But this video seems the least intrusive of all the others I saw at Youtube.

One of things I like about music is how it can create its own visual landscape of the imagination. So if the video just gets in the way, you can always sit back, turn your head the other way, and listen.

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Mandisa – Stronger

I’ve been journeying through the past a lot here. But I’m not stuck in it. One of the nicer surprises that I’ve come across in the past few years is the ripening of Christian pop music. With exceptions on either side, I often find it more uplifting than mainstream pop. I say “with exceptions” because there are some new mainstream radio hits that I do like, and there are some Christian pop tunes that get a bit too fundamentalist for my liking (sometimes a good tune can be soured by fundamentalist lyrics). And yeah, I do have to be in the mood. But that’s true for any type of music, n’est-ce pas?

Anyhow, I hope you “dig” this just as much as I do… 🙂

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Today’s reading at Mass

The Resurrection Mass in Stavropoleos, oil on ...

The Resurrection Mass in Stavropoleos, oil on canvass via Wikipedia

I was talking on Facebook earlier this morning about synchronicity, magic and spirituality. Then later at Mass, this reading sort of stood out:

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ.  9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

Source: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians+2%3A6-15&version=NIV

It seemed like a funny kind of synchronicity in itself.

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church sunset with moon

church sunset with moon, originally uploaded by earthpages.

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Toby Mac – Atmosphere

I was out walking tonight, listening to this song…