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I was having a conversation today with Webster and Dr. Jones (not a real MD) today about the greatest band names of all time.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot today, so I decided to just go through my iTunes and alphabetically list the best band names for each letter of the alphabet. Now, I can’t speak for all bands out there, cuz these are only the ones I had on my iTunes. Some of the names I chose because they were just sweet, and others I chose because they were completely ridiculous. It’s a pretty simple premise, but I had fun with it. If you disagree or have others you’d like to add, post them in the comments.  Enjoy!

Audio Adrenaline

The Butthole Surfers

Cage the Elephant

Death Cab for Cutie

Eagle Eye Cherry

Future of Forestry

The Gaslight Anthem

Horse Feathers

Iron and Wine

Jimmy Eat World

K.C. and the Sunshine Band

Lifehouse

Meatloaf

Neon Trees

Old Crow Medicine Show

Panic! At the Disco

Queen

Raft of Dead Monkeys

Soundgarden

Third Eye Blind

U2

Vampire Weekend

The Wallflowers

(no X’s)  Seriously, no good band name starts with X.

Young the Giant

Zero 7

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This is a little poem I wrote about being short.  For those of you who have experienced the majority of your lives looking up to people, you’ll understand.

But this poem isn’t just about being physically short… this is about how God shows favor for the oppressed, the weak, and the humbled and how He uses them as the agents of greatness in His Kingdom.  Here it goes!

“On the Shoulders of Those Before Us”

My miniature disposition
has been a rather inefficient
way to be heard

Because you’ve got to sit tight
while I lower the mic
before I even say my first word

And even then, I’m tip-toeing
Because I’m not exactly growing
to be so self-assured

Because I’ll never be picked first for basketball
And I can’t see a thing walking through a crowded hall
And sometimes, I’ll admit, I have to use the kid-sized urinal stall

And though I may never reach my top kitchen shelf
and I might be called names like midget and elf
I’m starting to like my sense of self

And though I may never jam
and lift my hands
up over where the basket is
As my mom always told me,
“Dynamite comes in small packages”

But, truth be told, the real fact is
That I believe
the meek will inherit the earth
and the weak will shame the strong
and that I am a mustard seed, baby
And I’m moving mountains all day long

Yes, I will be David in the face of a giant
And I will be Daniel in the den of the lions
Feeble, yet firm, in a fearless defiance

So this one is for the little guy
Who’s got more bark than he’s got bite
Yet he will stand and fight the fight

And this one is for the little guy
who is always picked last
Cuz the last is surpassed
when the last won’t be least
and the best become beasts
and the pests become priests
and all those fasts will turn into feasts

And this one is for all those kids at theme parks that have to hear,
“Well, maybe you’ll be tall enough to ride this ride… next year”

And this one is for the guy
who had to severely limit his options
of girls he could take to a school dance
based primarily on his height

Otherwise, she’d complain she couldn’t wear heels that night

So in sight of these trite tribulations
and despite debilitations
inciting indignation
inside of this tried creation,
I make no hesitation
to reclaim restoration
and a little liberation
for the underdog’s salvation

So if you’re tall and you’re proud,
stand up with me right now
Cuz you can’t block anyone’s view here anyhow

And let’s rise
above our size
to meet the eyes
of those who push us down

For we were made to humble the proud
And we’ll step up on stage and silence the crowd

And then they’ll adjust the mic
from our height,
wishing they had such a crutch
For we were trusted in being little
so we were trusted in being much

A few weeks ago, I was sitting with a student in my office, and we were going through YouTube checking out some of our favorite bands, and I was loving it.  Sharing a good song with friends is one of my favorite things to do.  Ask my girlfriend… I make her a new cd at least once a month of new songs that I’ve come to love.  Recently, my earbuds have been rejoicing thanks to friends and family who have been so kind to open new bands to me, so this post is more of a “pay-it-forward post”.  I just want to give back a little of what’s been given to me.

So my advice… give these bands a try.  Listen to the beauty and maybe find some peace today wherever you are.  Thanks for reading my posts, and here’s my gift to you (unless you hate these bands, then sorry I wasted your time).

I was cleaning up a bit today, and I got my first inkling that winter is about here, which sent my musical senses into a code red… and green.  Yep, that’s right.  It’s officially time for me to be in Christmas music lock-down mode.

For some reason, I tend to beat the rush when it comes to Christmas music.  I always bust it out well before Thanksgiving (sometimes even in October), and I think I do this for a couple reasons.

1.) Right now, I have roughly 15 hours of Christmas music on my iTunes.  I don’t know how this happened. I just chalk it up to the magic of Christmas.  But since I have such an excess, I feel guilty if I don’t divulge into this music for more than one month.

2.) Christmas music is generally happy, and I’d like to think that I’m generally happy, so it mixes well.

3.) If I beat everyone else in my Christmas spirit, I feel like a trend-setter.

So for these reasons, I humbly lower my musical tastes for the next few months and bid farewell to those quality bands like Mumford and Sons, Freelance Whales, and Horse Feathers that I was just beginning to like (check them out if you haven’t heard them before!).  I’ll hear them next year, I suppose, but for now I am on a musical mission that ends in childbirth (aka Christmas).

So to get to the actual point of this post, one of my favorite Christmas songs is one that catches even myself off guard.  It isn’t a traditional Christmas hymn, nor is it a silly children’s melody.  It isn’t even by an old school crooner like Bing or Nat King Cole.  It’s actually a beautiful melody by a self-proclaimed agnostic.

Have you ever heard “The Christmas Song” by Dave Matthews?  Even huge fans of Dave Matthews raise their eyebrows when I tell them about this song, which is probably his most under-rated.  In this song, Dave beautifully recounts the birth, life, and death of Christ surrounded by a central theme… love.  I find it pretty incredible that an agnostic can write such a worshipful piece of art and catch the message of the Gospel better than many in the Church.

As we set our hearts towards this season, which I know can be stressful, crazy, and (I dare say) materialistic, I think it would do justice to be reminded what this season is really all about.  And it’s not about getting or giving presents,  it’s not about family, and it’s not even about figgy pudding.  It’s about Christ.  It’s about God becoming a human, which is one of the most miraculous events the world has ever known.

So here’s what I’d love for you to do. Below is a video of the song. Listen to it, read the lyrics I posted below, and enjoy the love.

She was his girl; he was her boyfriend
She’d be his wife and make him her husband
A surprise on the way, any day, any day
One healthy little giggling dribbling baby boy
The wise men came, three made their way
To shower him with love
While he lay in the hay
Shower him with love love love
Love love love
Love love was all around

Not very much of his childhood was known
Kept his mother Mary worried
Always out on his own
He met another Mary who for a reasonable fee,
less than reputable was known to be.

His heart full of love love love
Love love love
Love love was all around

When Jesus Christ was nailed to his tree
Said “oh, Daddy-o, I can see how it all soon will be
I came to shed a little light on this darkening scene
Instead I fear I’ve spilled the blood of our children all around”

The blood of our children all around
The blood of our children’s all around

So I’m told, so the story goes
The people he knew were
Less than golden hearted
Gamblers and Robbers
Drinkers and Jokers, all soul searchers
Like you and me
Like you and me

Rumors insisted he soon would be
For his deviations
Taken into custody
By the authorities less informed than he.
Drinkers and Jokers all soul searchers
Searching for love love love
Love love love
Love love was all around

Preparations were made
For his celebration day
He said “eat this bread and think of it as me
Drink this wine and dream it will be
The blood of our children all around
The blood of our children’s all around
The blood of our children all around

Father up above, why in all this anger do you fill
Me up with love, love, love
Love love love
Love love was all around
Father up above, why in all this hatred do you fill
Me up with love, fill me love love love
Love love love
all you need is love
you can’t buy me love
Love love love
Love love
And the blood of our children’s all around

I know I just posted a few hours ago, but I found this, and it’s too good.  Enjoy and love it.

 

Before the Earthquake:

~ Haiti was poorest country in Western Hemisphere

~ 80% of their population lived on less than $1 a day

~ Gang violence ruled the streets

~ Child prostitution was on the rise

~ Over 1/50 suffered from HIV/AIDS

After the Earthquake:

~ 80-90% of the buildings in Port-au-Prince (the capital) were destroyed.

~ Over 200,000 were left dead

– That’s the size of the city of Ft. Wayne

– There are mass graves by the thousands

– Bodies are being stuffed in car trunks because there is no other place to put them

~ An additional 250,000 are injured and in need of medical assistance

– But only 4 hospitals remain in the entire country

~ 1.5 Million are rendered homeless

– That’s half of the population of Port-au-Prince

– That would be like if every single person in Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne, Evansville, Sound Bend, Gary, Marion, Bloomington, Kokomo, and Muncie were all homeless in a matter of minutes

~ Looting and raids fill the streets.

~ Overall, nearly 3 Million are affected by this catastrophe

~ The UN calls this the worst disaster the UN has ever been confronted with

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

Let’s pray for the families and friends of those affected by this tragedy.

Let’s pray for the aid workers fighting tirelessly to help those in need.

Let’s pray for riots to cease and for peace to reign.

Let’s pray to discover how the Church can respond to bring the Kingdom in this time.

I want to begin this blog without presupposing I am “the stuff” and know all the answers to anything. This is primarily a place for community to enter into a dialogue based on some things God has been teaching me or teaching my community.  I am simply wandering through life with my God and wondering what is next.  I am excited to discover what God will teach me through this process of thoughts.  I hope you enjoy, even if no one else reads this 🙂

I love you!

Shalom

JE