On June 18, 2007, I made a track that I originally called “Ignore me; I’m building an army.” It has been through half a dozen modifications since then. When I discovered in seminary that the word Satan in Hebrew means “the accuser,” I put some of my words over the track and called it Satan, which is actually on this site. But I think I’ve found a better application for the track by coupling it with a sermon Greg Boyd preached almost exactly 5 years after I made my track. On June 10th, 2012, he preached “The Sting,” in which he laid out a compelling Christus Victor vision of the cross as a “sting” operation against Satan. So here then is “The Sting,” track 3 of Danceable Homiletics featuring Greg Boyd:
All right here’s the second one. I just kind of got in the zone tonight. This is from Jonathan Martin’s sermon “Don’t Stand Up For Jesus” which he preached at the height of the Chik-Fil-A drama last summer. Jonathan’s point is that we should stand with Jesus as He stands up for sinners against the people who want to stone them. So here it is:
My friend Bram gave me an epiphany today. I asked him what I should do to a trance track I made last night since he’s from Europe and they actually listen to trance over there. He said why don’t you overlay it with vocals from a Pentecostal preacher’s sermon. And that was how the new genre of danceable homiletics was born. We’ll see if it goes anywhere. Let me know if you have any favorite sermons you’d like me to trance-late into danceable form. Track #1 was created from an awesome sermon by one of my favorite preachers Brian Zahnd of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri. It’s called “Ring Them Bells.”
Kayal ta-arog al afike mayim is how you write “As the deer panteth for the water” phonetically in Hebrew. That familiar heartwarming hymn has its place to be sure, but if you read the remainder of Psalm 42 from which it draws the first line, then you see that its tone is off. The psalmist says tears have been his food and his enemies’ taunts are crushing his bones. Those sorts of images call for a hip-hop song rather than a churchy sounding hymn. I’m preaching on this psalm this weekend. I will be rapping my own adaptation of it too. Lyrics are below. Here’s the recording:
I wrote some songs this past year and posted recordings of some of the songs I’ve written in the past. I could use some encouragement if you think that any of this stuff is worth pursuing further. Because of the lack of response I’ve gotten, it’s remained on the back-burner as a sort of lonely hobby. My honest concern is with not wasting God’s talent and I haven’t yet made peace with what I’ve made not going anywhere. I did the wannabe rock star thing about 8 years ago, and it was exhausting trying to “make it” in the secular music world. Had a band, played out in clubs, made an album, and I’ve still got 980 or so of the 1000 copies that were produced. We actually got 4 reviews in college and regional magazines, but our band broke up soon after the CD release party. If my music doesn’t need to go anywhere, that’s fine; I just wish I had some closure. My problem is that I’ve written songs that I thought God gave to me for a prophetic purpose, so to play them in the privacy of my living room honestly feels like I’m letting God down. I realize that sounds diva-ish but it’s genuinely how I feel. I told God that if He wants me to reprioritize my life in order to pursue my music more aggressively, then I need some kind of sign. Anyway, here is a post in which I shared an album’s worth of hip-hop and electronica tracks. And here is a post in which I shared videos of some piano songs I recorded at Goodson Chapel during the Duke pastor’s convocation this past fall.
This is Advent translated into hip-hop for Christians who are able to admit that we don’t always do a good job of taking up our cross to follow Jesus and want to try again to serve our king by marching for His kingdom. Lyrics are below.
About two-thirds of the way through Chris Tomlin’s Fairfax, VA show last Friday, he joked that there was probably somebody in the crowd who was still standing with his arms crossed despite the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit in the room, etc. Well I was that guy. I tried to clap for at least some of the time, but a lot of the time I had my arms crossed because it was crowded and I didn’t have any other place to put them. I also wasn’t really feeling it. Continue reading →