Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Make a Difference In the World! Vote For Your Favorite Songs!

Last year at about this time I asked you to submit a list of your twenty favorite songs, and, after running the lists you gave me through the Magical Counter of Foolishly Musical Voting-ness thingy that I keep in my garage, I published your ten favorite songs; a decent list overall, but sorely lacking in the variety department. Which is why I'm adding a new rule to the voting this year; a rule that is restrictive, but necessary. On the list you submit, no artist may be included more than twice. Otherwise, the voting process is the same as last year's:

Step #1. Come up with a list of your twenty favorite songs. (Remember, your favorite; not your friend's favorite, or your uncle's favorite, or your second cousin once removed's favorite, or even the favorite of your next door neighbor’s miniature poodle. The list had better be truly yours or the Magical Counter thingy won't except it. Also, please only include songs that are your favorites right now, this list is not to determine what songs you listened to when you were a kid, or the songs you enjoyed a couple of years ago; it's about what songs mean the most to you right now.)

Step #2. Order the list, placing your favorite at the top and the rest down from there. (Hard to do, yes. Like breaking up, only a lot more painful.)

Step #3. Get it to me. Via comment (on this post), e-mail, pony express, whatever; just get it to be by midnight on Christmas Day or your valued opinion will not be represented on the list. And that would be sad, wouldn't it? (Please keep in mind that I won't be accepting any lists posted by "Anonymous" commenters.)

Three steps. Simple enough, right? Enjoy making your list; I can't wait to see what comes of this.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

No Time To Say Goodbye, Hello!

You know what I really don't like? When somebody puts up a blog post just to say that they don't have time to put up a post. That really irks me.

Oh, by the way, I'll be running around like a chicken (or turkey, if you prefer) with it's head cut off till after Thanksgiving, so don't expect to see anything from me till then. (I'm putting off several things right now, as we speak.) For now, here's a passage that's becoming one of my favorites on the topic of Thanksgiving:

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”

Romans 1: 20-23

Give thanks for God's sake! Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Installment Twenty One...

“Since words are the way we communicate experiences, truth, and situations, who should know how to use them more creatively than Christians? The world is crying out for imaginative people who can spell out truth in words which communicate meaningfully to people in heir human situation. And of all people on earth, committed Christians ought to be the most creative for they are indwelt by the Creator. Charles Morgan speaks of creative art as “that power to be for the moment a flash of communication between God and man.” That concept opens up our horizons to a glimpse of God-huge thoughts, of beauty, of substance beyond our cloddish earthiness, of the immensity of all there is to discover.
Yet, tragically, Christians often seem most inhibited and poverty-stricken in human expression and creativity. Part of this predicament comes from a false concept of what is true and good. The fear of contamination has led people to believe that only what someone else has clearly labeled Christian is safe. Truth is falsely made as narrow as any given sub-culture, not as large as God’s lavish gifts to men. Truth and excellence have a way of springing up all over the world, and our role as parents is to teach our children how to find and enjoy the riches of God and to reject what is mediocre and unworthy of Him.”

-Gladys Hunt, Honey For A Child’s Heart

Monday, November 14, 2005

Magical Mystery Poem # 3

When I see birches bend to left and right

Across the lines of straighter darker trees,

I like to think some boy's been swinging them.

But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay

As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them

Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning

After a rain. They click upon themselves

As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored

As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.

Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells

Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust--

Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away

You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.

They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,

And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed

So low for long, they never right themselves:

You may see their trunks arching in the woods

Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground

Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair

Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.

But I was going to say when Truth broke in

With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm

I should prefer to have some boy bend them

As he went out and in to fetch the cows--

Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,

Whose only play was what he found himself,

Summer or winter, and could play alone.

One by one he subdued his father's trees

By riding them down over and over again

Until he took the stiffness out of them,

And not one but hung limp, not one was left

For him to conquer. He learned all there was

To learn about not launching out too soon

And so not carrying the tree away

Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise

To the top branches, climbing carefully

With the same pains you use to fill a cup

Up to the brim, and even above the brim.

Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,

Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.

So was I once myself a swinger of birches.

And so I dream of going back to be.

It's when I'm weary of considerations,

And life is too much like a pathless wood

Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs

Broken across it, and one eye is weeping

From a twig's having lashed across it open.

I'd like to get away from earth awhile

And then come back to it and begin over.

May no fate willfully misunderstand me

And half grant what I wish and snatch me away

Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:

I don't know where it's likely to go better.

I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,

And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk

Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,

But dipped its top and set me down again.

That would be good both going and coming back.

One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Monday, November 07, 2005

"I'm going parading before it's too late!"

If you've gotten an email from me regarding something called "Ringo", please just ignore it. It's just a dumb mistake.