live for others

 from Inward/Outward’s site

To Give My Life

Oscar Romero

I have often been threatened with death. Nevertheless, as a Christian, I do not believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. I say so without meaning to boast, with the greatest humility. As pastor, I am obliged by divine mandate to give my life for those I love.

Source: The Nonviolent Coming of God

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music list from 2010

Mart 49 music compilation

 Here’s the last year’s favourite music that fits on a cd (there were a number of others reluctantly dumped off the list!) – it is not necessarily new music, but songs I have enjoyed the most at different times during the year. Here is the list in order of what sounds good on a compilation rather than order of preference:

#1 I’ll go crazy if I don’t go crazy tonight – U2 Artificial Horizon 2010. I dislike the original track of this song from No Line On The Horizon, it seems like the track out of place in the album – an echo of past styles – so when I secured Artificial Horizon I was well-pleased to hear this upbeat dance track live mix – the little surprise on the U2 360 tour.

#2 Beyond here lies nothing – Bob Dylan Together Through Life 2009. Dylan’s new album is a mixed bag but in this opening track he is at his lively crusty best.

#3 Little Favours – KT Tunstall Drastic Fantastic 2007. While KT could name her albums better, I enjoy the uncomplicated rawness of her songs – she is especially good to watch live (well on DVDs if the truth be known). Her being part of Neil Finn’s Seven World’s Collide project was what put me on to her).

#4 Loveblind – The Church Sometime Anywhere 1994. The Church have become a firm favourite in the last month or two – choosing two songs for this compilation over others has been a real challenge. My brother Dave has sent different songs over from Melbourne over the years but it has taken me a while to catch on. I love the completeness of this song – an interesting story and lovely music to bring it to life.

#5 Moment of Surrender – U2 No Line On The Horizon 2009. This is the second successive year this song has made the list. I rate it among U2’s best two or three songs – sublimely simple.

#6 Up to you now – Ben Harper & Relentless 7 White Lies For Dark Times 2009. The musicianship of this whole album is quite stunning – the Relentless 7 guys can really play – the guitarist, bassist and drummer are each individually brilliant yet bring it all together to make it a whole.

#7 Little suitcase – Luluc Dear Hamlyn 2008. Dave also sent over with these gentle soulful songs from this folk duo from Melbourne, Zoe Randell and Steve Hassett.

#8 I and I – Bob Dylan Infidels. I first heard this album in the year it was released but didn’t realise its value until recently. I would rate Infidels as my favourite Dylan album.

#9 Blessed one – Steve Kilbey Dabble 2001. It was this song from The Church leader that got me back into their music.

#10 Could you be loved – Bob Marley Uprising 1980. A little bit retro here! I got a copy of the CD after having had the LP when it was first released.

#11 Forever man – Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood Live From Madison Square Garden 2009. What a song, what a concert!

#12 In my secret life – Leonard Cohen Live In London 2009. There is a lot warmth, grace and humility of Cohen’s concert, as well as great musicianship – it was hard to choose a track for this compilation.

#13 Black silk ribbon – Bic Runga & KT Tunstall in the 7 Worlds Collide CD The Sun Came Out 2009. This was my introduction to KT and a nice blend of voices with NZ’s Bic Runga. Interestingly both artists have a part-Chinese heritage.

#14 Cortez the killer – The Church A Box Of Birds 1999. The original Neil Young & Crazy Horse song made it on last year’s list – here is a cover version that is arguably an equal, which is a big ask. The mood set by the band with the excellent guitar work and vocal power is a real delight – it is a long track and my pick for the best track on this compilation.

and music thingee 2009

Mart turning 48

This is what I blogged in May 2009
 
Yep, that day is fast coming when people officially mark the fact that I have got older. I like the presents, but why the cards that rub it in, why the ‘there, there’ pats on the head from my children, why the fuss? And to top it off, the mother of my first grandson is in labour! I am too young to be 48, and too young to be a grandfather!
Anyway, as is my custom, I have put together my CD collection of the songs I have enjoyed the most over the last year. They are not ranked, rather, they are mixed. They either flow nicely into each other or provide startling contrasts, though the first track is rather sublime and deserves the first place.On the whole the songs are mellow – maybe that is the aging thing – and there are some songs from the 1970’s by The Moody Blues & Supertramp, and even a track from the 1960’s from The Beatles. It has been a year of collecting Beatles, Supertramp and Moody Blues Cd’s – I have loved these bands for a long time but had stuff on tapes and LPs. My favourite albums by each band are: Abbey Road (though A Hard Day’s Night is a close second), Crisis? What Crisis? and A Question of Balance. However, the Beatles track I have chosen is off Magical Mystery Tour, and the other Supertramp song was originally on Even in the Quietest Moments. I haven’t found a copy of Rodriguez’s Coming From Reality CD yet, otherwise I would have had his fabulous To Whom It May Concern on the list.

I also want to express a word of lament – it is harder to get Cd’s in this country. This love affair with downloading is undermining the CD industry – I (probably operating from a getting old perspective) love handling the CD – I love browsing the sleeve – I love the tactile placement of the CD into the machine. I love being able to put a collection of Cd’s together in the machine and pushing ‘random play’, and I love removing one of the Cd’s if it doesn’t quite fit. I love these things in the way I loved LP’s.

A few songs didn’t make the cut because they didn’t fit onto the CD – one of them, Isn’t it Amazing by Hothouse Flowers has been on a past compilation and it should be on here as well – and Falling Slowly & Motherland were also on last year. That is a tribute to the quality of their music as I have listened to those tracks many many times and still love them.
 Of course, this is a U2 year with the release of No Line on the Horizon. There are four songs that could also have made the cut – they do make it hard!
 Where possible, a sample of the song is included.
#1 moment of surrender – U2 [from No Line on the Horizon]
The Edge has created one of the most beautiful and simple guitar solos on a track with Bono in fine voice and a signature U2 theme well-explored. The best track since With or Without You? – I think so but my son Josh thinks I’m nuts – he likes Get On Your Boots – of course!
#2 magic – bruce springsteen [from Magic] http://www.last.fm/music/Bruce+Springsteen/Magic/Magic
I love this album – I’m a relatively recent Springsteen fan – it seemed that the Trade Towers needed to come down before I was ready for him.
#3 falling slowly – glen hansard & marketa irglova [from The Swell Season] http://www.last.fm/music/Glen+Hansard+and+Marketa+Irglova/_/Falling+Slowly
#4 live with me – massive attack [from Collected] http://www.last.fm/music/Massive+Attack/_/Live+With+Me
This man’s voice is stunning – a moving love song.
#5 unknown caller – U2 [from No Line on the Horizon]
An unusual song – a nice surprise on the album. I wonder if it is a sign of where music might go in the future.
#6 question – the moody blues [from A Question of Balance] http://www.last.fm/music/The+Moody+Blues/_/Question
There are many songs I could have chosen – I’m a pre-1972 Moodies fan.
#7 sandrevan lullaby – sixto rodriguez [from At His Best] http://www.last.fm/music/Rodriguez/_/Sandrevan+Lullaby check him out at http://www.sugarman.org/index.html
I was introduced to Rodriguez (who only produced two studio albums) in 1982. He comes from the social comment school of songwriters. He has quite big following in South Africa but never really made it in his native US.
#8 motherland – natalie merchant [from Motherland] http://www.last.fm/music/Natalie+Merchant/_/Motherland
Great social comment about the spread of concrete – my son Josh the skater likes concrete but I don’t.
#9 two of us – supertramp [from Crisis? What Crisis?] http://www.last.fm/music/Supertramp/_/Two+of+Us
I found Crisis… in the excellent Penny Lane second hand CD store here in Christchurch (http://www.pennylanerecords.co.nz/) – it is probably the least valued of the wonderful series of 1970’s Supertramp albums, but one I love to listen to as a whole.
#10 cash – the panics [from Acoustic – various]
I don’t know anything about this band, but this track, accidentally ripped onto my songs list, has become a favourite.
#11 cortez the killer – neil young [from Live Rust] http://www.last.fm/music/Neil+Young/_/Cortez+the+Killer
The track on my collection is a live one – Will Jensen (late of Sunset Cinema http://www.myspace.com/sunsetcinemanz and now in the rather unusual Brains http://www.myspace.com/brainsmorebrains) had this track playing a lot over the summer. And to his delight, Neil Young played it at Big Day Out.
#12 hearts and bones – paul simon [from Concert in the Park]
I have had the original track on the Hearts & Bones LP since it came out in 1982, and now have the CD on order. Sublime!
#13 breathe – U2 [from No Line on the Horizon]
Brian Eno rates this and Moment… as two of the best U2 tracks he has been involved with. That’s quite a statement from the co-producer of The Joshua Tree and Acthung Baby!
#14 i am the walrus – the beatles [from Magical Mystery Tour]
John Lennon at his wicked best. My recent access to this song has been though the movie Across the Universe, Bono’s excellent version of I Am The Walrus from the movie nearly made it instead of the original.
#15 from now on – supertramp [from Anthology] http://www.last.fm/music/Supertramp/_/From+Now+On

inward/outward

I subscribe (for free) to a daily quote from Inward/Outward from the Church of the Savior in Washington: http://www.inwardoutward.org/

This thought appeals!

Freed From Taking Ourselves Too Seriously

Conrad Hyers

Those who live in grace are freed from the necessity of taking themselves, their circumstances, their morality and opinions, their piety and beliefs, too seriously. They are free to laugh and play as children of God. As important as repentance is, we are not saved by our much weeping, any more than we are saved by acts of penitence. And the expression of salvation freely given and received is not weeping but laughter, or at least a weeping become laughter. Laughter and lightheartedness, at their fullest and freest, are the gift of divine grace.

Source: And God Created Laughter

music each year 2008

Here’s the next year’s mix:

Mart hits 47 years with his favourite music from last year

Another birthday has passed… as I have done for the last three years, I compiled the group of songs that I have enjoyed the most this last year. The list is not in order of preference, but in order of what I think makes a good mix. I don’t listen to the radio to find new music – it is much more hit and miss than that, thus the collection comes entirely from cds at home… I don’t know why I put this list up on the blog… musical taste is so subjective, why would anyone want to listen to what I listen to? Before you run off and buy anything I’ve listed, do ask yourself that question!
#1 The Decemberists The Crane Wife Pt 3 (from The Crane Wife) My daughter Hana introduced this – for Anne, Sam, Josh & I it is a Gold Coast, Australia song – we hired a car, we had one CD, this was the opening track.
#2 Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova Falling Slowly (from The Swell Season & the movie Once). This just qualified – Anne and I watched Once just three weeks before my birthday.
#3 Cowboy Junkies December Skies (from Early 20th Century Blues) The album is made up mostly of covers (except this!) – it is my favourite Junkies album… this song starts with references to September 11 – sadness and lament for humanity as the 21st century gets underway.
#4 Crowded House Pour le Monde (from Time On Earth). Crowded House are back – we saw them in concert and they didn’t play this song! What confidence to leave the best track out from the play list. What a problem having so many good songs to choose from!
#5 David Gilmour On An Island (the title track from On An Island) We have watched the live DVD more than listened to the CD and had to include something from the maestro.
#6 Liam Finn Second Chance (from I’ll Be Lightening). Liam Finn’s quirky debut solo album is a masterpiece. He goes into strange territory with his rhythms and excels.
#7 Natalie Merchant Motherland (the title track from Motherland) Her participation in the Junkies Trinity Revisited led us to seek out this album.
#8 Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Into My Arms (from The Best of…) A moving love song.
#9 The Decemberists Summersong (see above)
#10 Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova When your mind’s made up (see above)
#11 Cowboy Junkies Misguided Angel (from Trinity Revisited) This album is a musical and visual feast… 20 years on the Junkies revisit their second album and the church it was recorded in and do the same set with several other musicians in attendance, including Natalie Merchant and Ryan Adams. The DVD has been watched over and over again.
#12 Crowded House English Trees (see above)
#13 Eric Clapton & Billy Preston Isn’t It a Pity (from Concert for George) A year after George Harrison died a band of friends got together and gave a concert… wonderful stuff! The Junkies covered this song on Early 20th Century Blues and I was torn over which version to include.
#14 Liam Finn I’ll Be Lightening (see above) This song is verse, verse, verse & chorus… strange and brilliant with Neil Finn on bass.
#15 Eric Clapton with Paul McCartney While My Guitar Gently Weeps (from Concert for George) Eric bleeds for his friend – one of my all-time favourite songs.

music each year

For the last 5 years near to or on my birthday I have put together a compilation of the songs I have enjoyed listening to the most over the year.  I’m transferring the lists from my blogspot blog onto this one in preparation for my big 50 one in May.

Here’s 2007’s list:
Here’s my cd of songs I’ve enjoyed through the last year… the list is in order of making it a good mix more than actual preferences although #1 and #2 are tops with me.
Explanation for some of the choices included…
city of blinding lights – U2 opening track at the U2 concert we went to in Melbourne… alluding to the new Jerusalem???
isn’t it amazing – hothouse flowers
I used it at a memorable church service & went to a concert last year and they sung it!
lungs – cowboy junkies
part of an extra group of covers on the one soul now album ’04
my black heart – the ghost who walks
this is neil mccormick, rock critic and author of the brilliant I was Bono’s Doppelganger & U2 by U2 – I imported this from the UK and love it. He also released a song after the London bombings – you can see it on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DECobDuX_YQ Neil is in the middle of the clip holding his child.
wired – mephymology
this Dunedin NZ band are finding their way – a great bunch who stayed on their way north to tour in the summer. Check them out at http://www.mephymology.co.nz/ They have some tracks on their my space site from a great concert last year.
window in the skies – U2
used this at church after Easter… great lines esp in opening verse
accustomed to the light – dave dobbyn
Dave is one of NZ’s heros he played this one evening in ChCh this summer with band & orchestra – profound! As was his version of Cohen’s Hallelujah.
map of the problematique – muse
me and my boys enjoy these guys, i love this following dave’s song
magic bracelets – hothouse flowers
from the latest flowers album – full of optimism.
fade into you – mazzy star
a song on my brother’s compilation that struck a chord, one of my daughter’s favourites as well
not ready to make nice – dixie chicks
the most ‘pop’ of the songs on this list… i like the anger but hope they find a way to move on from their stand re George Bush and the stuff that came at them because of it!
nothing wrong with me – the audreys
also on the compilation… they won the best blues & roots album in Australia 2006 check them at http://www.theaudreys.com.au/
thunder road – cowboy junkies
A springsteen’s song in junkies style also from the one soul now extra cd
red right hand – nick cave & the bad seeds
a close competition with their song do you love me?
angel – massive attack
enjoyed this played on The West Wing end of series 4
forever young – bob dylan
I honestly hadn’t really heard this song until this year!

I will post the 2008 list shortly

TVNZ turned up at our Easter Sunday Service

We (Knox, St Giles & St Stephen’s) had a surprise reporter and cameraman turn up at church today.  We featured in the 6pm bulletin on TV1: http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/change-venue-christchurch-easter-services-4139578

TV3 missed out because their reporter on Good Friday picked Jesus rising on Easter Monday!
We will try to put them right and invite them to join in next year!

Passion Sunday Reflection

17-4-11 St Stephen’s in Bryndwr Philippians 2:5-11
Reflection as we enter Holy Week by Mart the Rev

We enter Holy Week and the story is not new to us.  From our childhoods we have known the sequence – the palm branches being waved and Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey – but within days a change in mood – Jesus the threat to the religious authorities – Jesus overturning tables in the temple and driving out the money changers – Jesus weeping over Jerusalem – the authorities cooking up charges – Judas trading information for silver – the washing of the feet and Last Supper in the upper room – the Garden of Gethsemane – the sleeping disciples – the arrest – Peter’s denial – Herod – Pilate – the crowd calling for Barabbas to be freed – the whipping – Pilate washing his hands of the whole thing – the crucifixion – the burial – and the third day.
And in the middle of this, Jesus… living out what he taught – Jesus, being found in human form… humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.
In the middle of the betrayal, denial, fleeing disciples, trumped-up charges, corrupt leadership, and the inevitable scapegoating, is Jesus.  Innocence attacked. Truth sidelined. Love rejected.  Life wasted.
We would wish that this sorry story was the end of such sequences.  We would wish that the resurrection meant a once and for all end to violence and hate and corruption – that the kingdom of God revealed by Jesus would take root in the hearts of all people and God’s way of being would be the reality for all.
But we know that the kingdom come is also a kingdom coming – not here in its fullness even though we are invited and enabled to live into its fullness now.
No, the sorry cycle of betrayal, denial, fleeing disciples, trumped-up charges, corrupt leadership, and scapegoating continues on. It is as if the cast of Easter reappears in an endless cycle in the human story.  And we get caught up in it as participants, sometimes intentionally and often unknowingly.
For we know of the corrupting powers at work in our lives – leaders who turn on their people, people we trusted betraying us, institutions set up to enable a cohesive society becoming forces that begin to oppress us, and once loyal friends gossiping behind our backs.
We know of untruths being peddled as dogma – we know of the truth being twisted for individual gain – and we know of people being scape-goated.  And sometimes we participate in this willingly.
Jesus wasn’t the first or the last to be a scapegoat was he?  It is easy to pull out a Saddam Hussein or a Colonel Gaddafi every year or two and vilify them – they are easy targets and of course they have done many things to oppress their people.  It is easy to dismiss them, but a much harder task to scrutinise the systems that created space for their oppressive rules.  Few seem interested in questioning the politics of arms sales and backroom deals that enabled these dictators to emerge (like who exactly sold the arms used against the Libyans to their government?).  Few seem prepared to admit their hand in supporting these regimes while choosing to turn a blind eye to the myriad of horrible things that have been dished out on innocent people for years and years.  

No, just hand over the scapegoat when it suits.  Give us a Bernie Madoff or two and we can forgive the greed of a whole host of practices that led to the latest global financial crisis.  (or in New Zealand Allan Hubbard who, whatever he has or has not done, does not fit the usual profile of a scapegoat!)

Let’s label someone as the black-sheep in the family and lump on him or her all of our collective derision so that the not so good stuff in the rest of us can be brushed over. 

Let’s sack the coach when the team play badly.

Let’s set aside people from some other nationalities to be the focus of our strange need for one-upmanship and superiority: Moslems, the Maoris, the Asians… are we really any different from those who set up apartheid in South Africa – we may not have gone so far as they did but the seeds of hate are there.  Why do we do this?

Holy Week unfolds before us, giving us opportunity to reflect again on the worst of what humanity can do and be, but also on what Jesus, the best of humanity, offered and offers.

Jesus shows us that with God, betrayal, denial and death does not have the last word.  The corrupt and oppressive cycles of death in human life that seem to dominate us, do not need to continue.  We are Easter people called and enabled to live by another code – the kingdom of God code – always life – always hope – always truth – always love. 

Holy Week is a time for us to watch and walk alongside Jesus and reflect on who we are, what we are about, and where we are going.