samhaist

Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

John Piper on the new birth

In books, loving jesus, quotes, theology on July 25, 2009 at 8:26 pm

One of the unsettling things about the new birth, which Jesus says we all must experience in order to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3), is that we don’t control it. We don’t decide to make it happen any more than a baby decides to make his birth happen – or more accurately, make his conception happen. Or even more accurately: We don’t decide to make it happen any more than dead men decide to give themselves life. The reason we need to be born again is that we are dead in our trespasses and sins. That’s why we need the new birth, and that’s why we can’t make it happen. This is one reason why we speak of the sovereign grace of God. Or better: This is one reason why we love the sovereign grace of God.

– John Piper, Finally Alive

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Wilco (rocks)

In music, recommendations, reviews on July 7, 2009 at 10:17 pm

I realize that for a lot of people, my endorsement of Wilco’s cleverly titled new album, Wilco (the album) doesn’t hold a ton of water. There are very few bands/artists that I hold in as high esteem as Wilco. Jeff Tweedy is a consistently excellent songwriter and every incarnation of the band has put out some incredible music.

While throughout the years, they have had a constantly evolving cast (Jeff Tweedy and John Stirratt are the only original members), Wilco is currently running on it’s longest-lasting lineup and the results have been glorious. While Sky Blue Sky was a great album in it’s own right, it largely felt like Wilco hit the refresh button – it was basically a live album recorded in the studio. Wilco (the album) on the other hand, is a self-consciously studio-driven venture. One of the best parts of the album is that the band sounds like they had a blast making it.

Sonically, there are traces to be found from every stage of their history and this is one of the reasons why Wilco (the album)‘s title is so appropriate – it is the best statement of Wilco (the band)’s complex identity ever recorded on tape. It also reminds us that even throughout the sonic deconstruction of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born, at his core Tweedy has always been a writer of great pop songs.

From the first chords of ‘Wilco (the song)’ to Nels Cline’s jazzy noodling on the close to ‘Everlasting Everything’, Wilco (the band) has once again proven to be one of the most exciting bands in the world and Wilco (the album) is the latest installment of their near-perfect catalogue. It is also some of the finest music you’ll hear this year. Or next.