On the last day of the first round of my summer vacation, I want to offer up some links that have been collecting in my Bookmarks folder.
NoiseTrade is a site co-founded by Derek Webb that offers good music for “a few friends or a few bucks.” Their music is free to download if you pass along information about it to three friends or if you pay what you think it is worth. There are several good albums available and lots more I haven’t yet sampled. Among the ones that may interest you are Derek Webb’s The Ringing Bell, Sandra McCracken’s Gravity Love, Matthew Perryman Jones’ Throwing Punches in the Dark and Sixpence None the Richer’s My Dear Machine EP. Most of the albums are Folk, Folk Rock, Indie and the like.
David Thacker recently sent me a couple of tracks from Keep Silence an album he recorded (with Roger Hooper, I believe) that features hymns arranged for the violin and piano. I undoubtedly do not have the most discerning ear, but I thought the arrangements were beautifully done. The songs are very mellow and worshipful.
The album is available from iTunes or Amazon (where you can also listen to samples if you’re interested).
Young, Restless, Deformed
For some time now I’ve been pondering this whole “young, restless, Reformed” movement in the church which is seeing so many younger people gravitate towards Reformed Christianity. All the while I’ve been wondering, are we really Reformed? It seems to me that the Reformed churches I attended as a child bore little resemblance to much of what is Reformed today. Is it possible that we’ve co-opted a word and ripped it out of its historic context? Not too long ago I was speaking with a seminary professor and was describing to him my experience of young, restless, Reformed and he, a Scotsman by birth (and at heart) insisted that this is not Reformed, at least in its historic sense.
It was inevitable that others would notice this and have things to say about it. In a recent [and excellent and must-read] article entitled A Little Bit of Comfort for Machen’s Worrier Children, Carl Trueman touches on this issue in his own distinctive way.
Nevertheless, I confess to ambivalence, to both encouragement and concern, at what Hansen describes. On the encouragement side, it is clearly wonderful that the old theology of the Reformed Orthodox and the Puritans continues to speak today. This is not a surprise to those of us who believe it is, well, basically true (forgive the outdated modernist use of the word `true’ at this point but, hey, I am an outdated modernist after all. So what do you expect?). It is also exciting to realize that this new zeal for solid theology does not always have to be combined with an uptight social and political conservatism that longs for the enlightened days of Genghis Khan’s domestic and foreign policies (hey, he was kind to his grandchildren…..) and the kind of women’s fashions made popular by Little House on the Prairie. Even better – the good news for us men is that, no, there is no necessary connection between vital Christian faith, drinking only Lite Beer, and buying your clothes based on recommendations from the fashion pages of Professional Librarian Monthly, no matter what the excess of wide-lapelled plaid jackets, kipper ties, curly sideburns and horn-rimmed glasses on your local church’s session might indicate.
Yet, as I note above, I am ambivalent at points. There are causes for concern even amidst all the good news…
He points out a few concerns that we would do well to consider. For example, he notes, rightly I think, that at the center of this whole move are a few forceful personalities. He notes also the absence of the church in certain key points.
I noticed recently that Dr. Scott Clark has a book coming out soon titled Recovering the Reformed Confession. Kim Riddelbarger says, “this volume will provoke much discussion about what it means to be Reformed in our doctrine, as well as in our practice (preaching, sacraments, catechism, worship, and piety).” I think books like this one will go far to help us understand this movement that is afoot!