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Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

The Avett Brothers cover Springsteen’s “Glory Days”

In music, videos on February 25, 2009 at 3:21 pm

This is awesome.  I had wanted to check these guys out for a while and this is a great cover.  You should check out some of the other videos on Springsteen’s site.

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John Owen has a word for the church.

In loving jesus, quotes, recommendations, theology on February 23, 2009 at 8:14 pm

I mean it when I say that every Christian should read anything they can get their hands on by John Owen.  I’m reading through Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers for the second time, this time in the anthology Overcoming Sin & Temptation, and it still carries the same conviction and force.  This stuff is good for your soul.  This quote provides a good corrective against becoming legalistic or licentious and shows how relevant this Puritan’s writings are for the modern church.

“Let me add this to those who are preachers of the word, or intend, through the good hand of God, that employment: It is their duty to plead with men about their sins, to lay load on particular sins, but always remember that it be done with that which is the proper end of law and gospel – that is, that they make use of the sin they speak against to the discovery of the state and condition wherein the sinner is; otherwise, [by chance], they may work men to formality and hypocrisy, but little of the true end of preaching the gospel will be brought about.  It will not avail to beat a man off from his drunkenness into a sober formality.  A skillful master of the assemblies lays his axe at the root, drives still at the heart.  To [denounce] against particular sins of ignorant, unregenerate persons, such as the land is full of, is a good work; but yet, though it may be done with great efficacy, vigor, and success, if this be all the effect of it, that they are set upon the most [persistent] endeavors of mortifying their sins preached down, all that is done is but like the beating of an enemy in an open field, and driving him into an impregnable castle, not to be prevailed against” (Owen 84-84).

Bruce Ware rocks.

In loving jesus, recommendations, reviews, theology on February 20, 2009 at 6:49 pm

He is one of the most helpful theologians I’ve ever read.  His argument against open theism in God’s Lesser Glory is rock solid (in my opinion) and I’ve just started God’s Greater Glory, which focuses on the providence of God.  Go read him.

STREAM THE NEW U2 ALBUM!!!!!!!!!!

In music, recommendations, remarkable discoveries on February 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm

You can listen to No Line on the Horizon on the band’s MySpace page!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go buy the new M. Ward CD.

In music, recommendations, reviews on February 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm

It’s great.  It’s called Hold Time and you should buy it.  Here we find Ward continuing his exploration of the roots of American folk, blues, pop, rock, and country.

Warning: Ward is not for everybody, but if you like good music, it would be a wise decision to give him a shot.  This is probably the best (read: most accessible) place to start for M. Ward beginners.

Watch him perform his new single “Never Had Nobody Like You” on Letterman:

Bruce Springsteen is Working on a Dream

In music, recommendations, reviews on February 14, 2009 at 3:13 pm

If you have ever talked about music with me sometime during the past year or so you probably discovered that I have a mild obsession with Bruce Springsteen.  There are times that I will even make outrageous statements such as, “Bruce Springsteen is the greatest songwriter in the history of American music.”  Needless to say, I love the Boss (not romantically of course).

While his new album, Working on a Dream, has gotten extremely mixed reviews across the board (ranging from 5 stars from Rolling Stone to 1.5 stars from Slant), I think that it is most definitely a worthy addition to the Springsteen canon.  It certainly lacks the angst of earlier albums, but the stories are still there.

“Outlaw Pete” and “Queen of the Supermarket” are without a doubt the two most polarizing songs on the album.  In “Outlaw Pete,” the main character is literally a born criminal, and in “Queen of the Supermarket,” we meet a man who is so beaten down (thematically, classic Springsteen), that his only consolation is seeing the “beauty behind the counter.”  While they might be odd at first listen, within the context of the world that Springteen has sang about since Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., these songs add depth and color to an already great collection of songs.

Production-wise, Working on a Dream is the most interesting Springsteen album in years.  The Brian Wilson influence first found on Magic is continued and, dare I say, perfected.  The melodic bass lines found in “Working on a Dream” and “This Life” are 60s influenced pop at its best.  On the bluesy “Good Eye,” Bruce finally found a place for the vocal distortion that he has been experimenting with on the live version of “Reason to Believe.”  “This Life” and “Kingdom of Days” are gorgeous, and “The Last Carnival” and “The Wrestler” are a somber, but perfect way to end the album; the former a eulogy for recently deceased E-Street band member Danny Federici and the latter a bonus track from the film of the same name.

Overall, Working on a Dream is a great album.  While it will never be remembered as a classic album in the realm of  Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, Nebraska, or Born in the U.S.A., it is most certainly classic Springsteen.   Many will disagree with me, but I will even say that it will be considered among the best albums of 2009.  I highly recommend it.

Calvin on the duty of the theologian.

In quotes, theology on February 11, 2009 at 9:14 pm

“The duty of the Theologian, however, is not to tickle the ear, but confirm the conscience, by teaching what is true, certain, and useful” (Institutes 1.14.4)