June 15, 2009

Summer Reading 2009

Now that summer is here, what are you planning on doing with your time? Is there a book that's been sitting on your shelf that needs the dust blown off? I certainly have more than a few books that I'd like to get through while enjoying a glass of sweet tea on the back patio.

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Theology: Truly the Community - Marva Dawn
Dawn has written many scholarly yet accessible works on the church as a worshiping community. This volume tackles Romans 12, systematically applying its principles to modern communities. I have already read the first few chapters and have found her insights to be both challenging and creative.

Non-Fiction (Science): Musicophilia - Don Sacks
Okay, so I'm already about 200 pages into this one, but I'll be finishing it in summer, so it counts, right? Sacks is the neurologist/psychologist who wrote the book Awakenings, which had a film based upon it. This time he writes about his studies of the brain and music. A fascinating read so far, his work is full of compassionate case studies into the lives of people who suffer from maladies that effect their ability to process sounds, specifically music.

Non-Fiction (Cultural): The Great-Good Place - Ray Oldenburg
I bought this in hopes of it being my summer 2008 reading, but I ended up doing other things. I figure that if I put it on this list for all to see, I'll have to read it. Oldenburg presents the case for Third Places, those places in a culture that are outside of the home and workplace where people go to find a sense of place and community. In Europe, it's street caf├ęs and public houses. In America, we've separated ourselves so much from the world outside that we've lost our sense of third place, and Oldenburg argues for a reclamation of this important type of institution. A highly influential book, it has already inspired the establishment of coffee shops and book stores around the country (one of which is in Seattle, called Third Place Books).

Fiction: ??
I have a long list of books that I've been collecting on my shelf to read. I'm sure I'll get around to finishing a Dashiell Hammett mystery or two (The Thin Man, Red Harvest), some Cormac McCarthy (Sunset Limited, No Country For Old Men), and hopefully a classic (Brothers Karamazov has been staring at me for a while).

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So now it's your turn to join the conversation. What books are you planning on reading? Please post at least one book in the comment section below, and maybe even include a short description.

Happy Reading!!!

photo courtesy bookmonger on Flickr.

June 09, 2009

Give To The Winds

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I recently wrote a new melody for the Paul Gerhardt hymn, "Give To The Winds", which was originally written in German and later translated into English by John Wesley nearly a century later. JS Bach has set the German text. For my setting, I had to modify a few of the lines to help the melodic phrasing. Brian Wren in "Praying Twice" says that this is a no-no as it ruins the author's original voice to change that much (more than just the archaic language or other more subtle modifications). Oh well, can't please everyone!

The recording is from May 31, 2009 at Grace Presbyterian of Silicon Valley. I wrote the melody with The Weepies in mind, so I was pleased to have a fellow Weepies fan, Anne-Marie Strohman, taking the lead vocal. Hopefully the arrangement will expand a little bit when I get a chance to do a fuller demo.

Give To The Winds

Give to the winds your fears,
Hope and be not dismayed;
God hears your sighs and counts your tears;
God will lift up,
God will lift up,
God will lift up your head.

Leave to God’s sovereign guide
To choose and to command,
Wand'ring, as you own His way,
How wise, how strong,
How wise, how strong,
How wise, how strong His hand.

Through waves and clouds and storms,
He gently clears your way;
Wait now, since in His time, this night will
Soon end in joy,
Soon end in joy,
Soon end in joyous day.

Words: Paul Gerhardt, 1653; tr. John Wesley, 1739; alt. Music: Luke W. Brodine, 2009. © 2009 Rare Sunshine Music. UBP. ARR