I don’t like Contemporary Christian Music. I think this is mostly a knee-jerk reaction against my teenage ALL CHRISTIAN EVERYTHING SEPARATE FROM THE WORLD asshole days, so I am probably throwing some babies out with the bathwater (sorry, babies!). But there is also a little truth to the fact that a lot of CCM is just…not creative. Not technically good. And most importantly to me, they are often too Happy Happy Joy Joy.
I can’t stand a faith that pretends life is good. I can’t stand a faith that refuses to acknowledge domestic violence, addictions, bad moods, and doubt. Unfortunately, most of our worship music is “blissfully” free of our uncomfortable reality. But I want to be uncomfortable! I want the songs I sing to God to be messy and truthful and desperate, because that is how I am.
So even though I don’t like traditional worship music, I DO love me some songs about faith. Here are a few of my favorites.
One of my favorite parts of any worship service is the singing, and this is especially true in a country where the majority of my singing time (while driving) has been removed. I still love singing in Greek, which is a little weird because I can pronounce things even if I don’t understand what I am singing.
There are a lot of translated American worship songs in the Greek churches, which is a shame, because I don’t particularly like American worship songs. HOWEVER, there is this one song that I’m a huge fan of, mostly because it’s really powerful and kind of foreign-sounding. As part of my Greek lesson, my teacher had me actually translate the words, so now I know that I am not accidentally blaspheming while singing.
They’re singing the song a bit too fast for my taste in this video, but you get the idea. The minor key!! I am a sucker for minor keys.
Ω, Θεέ αναρωτιέμαι (O God, I wonder)
πώς μπορούσα εγώ να ζήσω (how I could live)
δίχως την αγάπη Σου και τη φροντίδα Σου. (without your love and your care)
Όμως τώρα Σε γνωρίζω (But now I know)
είμαι εγώ παιδί δικό Σου (I am your child)
και ποτέ δε θα ‘μαι μόνος (θα είμαι μόνος) (and never will I be alone)
γιατί Εσύ θα ‘σαι κοντά μου. (θα είσαι κοντά μου) (because you will be close to me)
Δόξα, στον Πατέρα (Glory to the Father)
Δόξα και στον Υιό Του (and glory to His Son)
Δόξα στ’ Άγιο Πνεύμα παντοτινά! (Glory to the Holy Spirit always)
I stumbled upon Jeremy Messersmith this past week, and his lighthearted indie pop sound is right up my musical alley. In addition to the sound, I’m a huge fan of the album as a whole. So far I’ve just been listening to one album, Heart Murmurs, on repeat. Am I crazy, or it is incredibly unique?
Most albums about love track one person’s love story, usually the singer him/herself. But Heart Murmurs is a short story anthology in musical form, and unless I’m just loopy on obsessiveness, I can’t think of any other album like that. Messersmith uses his sweet, sweet voice to tell wildly different stories: a guy wrestling with unrequited love all the way until her wedding day, a guy offering to be his best friend’s rebound after a girl breaks his heart, and a married man playing out an “If You Like Pina Coladas” schtick as he propositions his wife with a one-night stand. The only way he could be more diverse is if he sang from a woman’s point of view.
Usually I’m a fan of long narratives. I prefer serial shows like LOST to procedural shows like Law and Order. Give me a massive novel over an anthology anyday, and heaven knows I don’t want Taylor Swift to take back 1989. But somehow, Jeremy Messersmith is converting me! I’m super into his chameleon songwriting, and I can’t wait to be over Heart Murmurs long enough to dive into his death-themed pop album The Reluctant Graveyard.
Favorite songs: “Bridges,” “Steve,” “I Want to be Your One Night Stand.”
I LIVE. If you like babies, you probably need a sense of humor (or empathy) to read this article, but as someone who has always been deeply ambivalent about having biological children, I was screaming in agreement throughout the whole thing.
2| Marvel movies have boring soundtracks – here’s why!
Are you drawn to the story of a God who lives and dies full of love for a rebellious creation…yet find yourself wondering how it could possibly be true? Have you grown weary of rules that seem to cause slavery rather than freedom? Are you skeptical about the usefulness of “good news” that doesn’t seem so good? Do you worry that the religion you grew up with doesn’t apply to a more diverse population?
Welcome to the Doubting Christians Club!
In a desire to provide a strong foundation for its members, the Church has often promoted a rigorous belief system that seems to leave little room for doubt…which can make doubters feel like they either need to leave the Church or else hide their doubts. I don’t believe either of these options is a good idea for the Doubting Christian – the first because you will miss out on the beauty you are drawn to, and the second because you will live a double life that will slowly isolate and destroy you.
Luckily, there are others out there just like you (myself, for instance)! Listed below is the Doubting Christians Starter Pack that will stretch your mind, give you hope, and assure you that you are not alone.
1| O Me of Little Faith: True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling by Jason Boyett
This is the book that began my journey toward becoming comfortable with my doubt. It was given to me, unasked for, by my pastor, which has earned him my undying respect. In this book, Boyett gets honest about his doubts and comes to the conclusion that perhaps doubters are closer to God than those who never question their faith – after all, doubt is an inextricable part of a faith given to something unseen.
Anita at Feeling the Light is emailing out contemplative prompts throughout this year’s season of Lent. If you are interested in delving into your own spiritual formation, feel free to take these prompts and answer them for yourselves!
“Hands are amazing. There are few animals in the world who use their hands similar to how humans do. Meditate on these pictures or find other pictures of hands that speak to you in some way. Take pictures of your own hands, or of a loved one’s hands. Notice the contours, lines, shades and shapes. What is the texture of these hands? What do these hands say?”
The prompt feels like it’s leaning towards something empowering or beautiful, but yesterday was Ash Wednesday. As a former Baptist, I’m fairly ignorant about the rhythms of the church calendar, but I’m pretty sure Ash Wednesday is about death. And as I look at my hands, I think of death. Whether it’s the peeling nail polish or the extra lines or the faded scars, my hands are growing older.
So is the rest of me. I have gray hairs now, and it’s a battle to convince myself that I am proud of them rather than ashamed. I started working out a couple months ago because I was alarmed at how easy it was for my skin to start sagging, and I guess I’m trying to postpone the inevitable. My feet hurt after a day of walking. I get headaches when I don’t drink enough water. Jubilant play or dancing only lasts a couple minutes before I’m wheezing for air.
I am frail. My body is beautiful, yes. My body is useful and productive and sometimes efficient. But it’s falling apart, slowly but surely. “From dust you came, and to dust you will return.” Life is meant to be eternal, but it’s not. I believe in the Christian story because my soul feels its truth – I am made for something more than what I have. This world, and this body, is not what it should be. Beauty is shaded with corruption. My hands, which are strong and growing weaker, are capable of both helping someone and harming them. Everything has a dark side. Continue reading →
Hello! It’s me, Tricia, your Too-Old-For-This escort into the wonderful and horrifying world of One Direction! You may remember me from the last time I broke down and indulged my inner tweenager by writing a 1D Manifesto (it is still one of my favorite posts that I’ve ever written). Since then, a lot has happened: Zayn left the band, Louis became an almost-father, they announced that they’re going on a break (which might actually be a break up), and today they released their fifth album.
Now, I’ve always freely admitted that first and foremost, I’m into their pretty faces. Look at these faces!
With every album released, I listen and love with the fondness of someone supporting their cute fictional boyfriend(s). Their music isn’t hard to listen to, and there are always a couple songs that I completely adore. But their sound is not my go-to musical choice. However…when I started listening to Made in the A.M. I found myself loving the entire thing.
Admittedly, the objective part of my brain is broken. Beautiful men do that to me. I have no confidence in my opinions where One Direction is concerned. I KNOW that they’ve musically matured since “That’s What Makes You Beautiful,” but there’s still some elitist part of me that doesn’t want to admit the truth:
I REALLY LOVE THEIR MUSIC. There, I said it. Let the flailing commence. Continue reading →
It’s another round of the Oh Hey, Friday! link-up from September Farm! If you want to join in, just:
1 | grab this here snazzy summer-themed button and link back to Sept. Farm. 2 | link up your post at the bottom of this post. 3 | tell all your friends + have a fantastic friday.
1| Sashayed’s Fall Playlist
I follow tumblr blogger Sashayed religiously, since she is clever, funny, has the cutest cat, and is horrified to find herself a 30-year-old One Direction fan. She very occasionally creates playlists on 8tracks, including an awesome Pop Maenads series. She just recently posted a second fall mix, Watch for Deer at Dawn, full of hipster lilting melodies, banjos, and the smell of cold in the air.
Tomorrow my high school friend Hope is getting married! As a 27-year-old single person, I inevitably have mixed feelings about going. On the one hand, I am super into celebrating life events with the people I love. And a day full of fancy outfits, food, drinks, and dancing? Obviously I’m into it. But…oh joy, one more person getting married before me. And also, I’m not complaining about taking my dear friend Emily as my plus one, but…I guess I’m complaining a little, because none of my guy friends are single anymore. 90% of the time I love my life, but it’s times like these that I just want a boyfriend to be my date to a wedding. Continue reading →
Rainy Thursdays has been doing a Disney Challenge, so I thought I would give it a go! All at once though, because why not?
Your Favorite Character
This is impossible to answer with just one person, but I’ll say Tom Sawyer in Tom and Huck, as played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas at the height of my love for him. He’s a troublemaker with a heart of gold, which….has always been my weakness.
Your Favorite Princess
Belle! It was so cool for child-Tricia to see a brunette girl who loved to read saving the day, turning down handsome jerks and learning to love the unlovable. I saw the best version of myself in her.
Your Favorite Heroine
I really liked Rapunzel for her naivete and optimism. She has had a literally sheltered life, but she uses her pain to create art and dream of a better future. And I adore the scene when she first leaves the tower, alternating between ecstasy and fear. Very accurate, very funny.
Your Favorite Prince
Probably Aladdin. He’s a smart-aleck, street-wise sweetheart. He takes care of his friends, has a pet monkey, and takes Jasmine on a carpet ride through the clouds. All the things I look for in a man.
Your Favorite Hero
I’ll go with a literal (Greek) hero: Hercules! Really I just want to include this movie in the list, because it’s so much fun, from the singing Muses to sassy Megara to sassier Hades. Continue reading →
I have all-time favorites when it comes to Mumford & Sons: “Hopeless Wanderer,” “White Blank Page,” and “After the Storm.” But there’s one song in particular that I always forget about, and when I hear it I always say, “Oh YEAH, I love this!”
“Below My Feet” is a catchy enough song. When the chaos drops out at 3:35 and the chorus grows in intensity, I have never yet been able to keep myself from punching my steering wheel in time to the beat. But what I really love are the lyrics. Continue reading →