I'm pleased to share a recent article from the Presbyterian Mission Agency focusing on music for this year's Big Tent gathering in St. Louis. It's been a joy to help plan music for a national event of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and I look forward to sharing worship leadership with a wonderful talented, diverse group of musicians this July!Read More
Over the past year I’ve been collecting short songs and hymns focused on spiritual journey and pilgrimage. Some are walking songs or invite body movement; others feature a beautiful or thoughtful combination of text and tune. I have used many of them in congregations I've served as an interim/transitional musician and I'm happy to share the list with others as a resource.Read More
Is it a creeping tension in your neck and back? Perhaps you're finding it hard to focus or can't quiet your thoughts? Maybe your stomach is upset, your head aches, your teeth are clenched? Maybe you find yourself hyper-vigilant or distrustful of others in public spaces? You are feeling the subtle and insidious presence of anxiety, which seems to affect us all in these difficult days.
While I don't have a quick fix to our collective unsettledness or the anxiety that ebbs and flows, I have noticed that singing settles us. Perhaps one of the ways we can defuse anxiety and diffuse peacefulness is through song, specifically songs that remind us who we are and whose we are.
Earlier this year I served as a guest musician at Broadway Presbyterian Church, where their pastor, Rev. Chris Shelton, presented a summer sermon series exploring the context and themes of the New Testament. To begin, we invited the congregation to imagine a time before worship bulletins, before hymnals, even before the letters of Paul and the Gospels were written. We created a worship service that was paperless, participatory and poetic. And we used story telling, communal song and images as primary vehicles for the expression and transmission of faith, like the earliest followers of Jesus.Read More
Since last fall’s #blacklivesmatter protests in New York City, I have become more and more aware of the privilege our culture affords me as a white man. I have come to understand that I cannot speak on behalf of persons of color, as if I know best what others need or want. I have not walked in their shoes nor do I understand the challenges or hurdles many face on a daily basis – from subtle, demoralizing micro-aggressions to unwarranted scrutiny to police brutality like we saw at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina this week.
But I can support and help amplify voices of color that are speaking their truth. I can name and confront racism whenever and wherever I see it. I can advocate, work for systemic change, and seek justice and equality for all, especially black lives. It is not enough to simply pray for a better world but I am called to be God’s hands and feet. My faith requires me to leverage my privilege for the wider good. And God also calls me to encourage and inspire other privileged folk to action, especially in the church.Read More