This started as some ideas to tweetsplode, but it would be long even for me.

I've always looked at my job as involving both art and craft. I got this analogy from Terry Bozzio: a painter can paint a portrait, or he can paint your house. Kinda like that.

My job these days is almost entirely craft. Playing in worship bands, playing in cover bands, backing up singer/songwriter guys...hell, even most "original" situations boil down to executing someone else's idea of what the drum set ought to do. There's really very little "art" involved in what the bulk of musicians and music consumers want to hear from a drummer.

Even what passes for the drummer being "creative" usually means changing the sound of the kit and playing 60 year old cliches on it. "He's so creative! The toms are muffled!" That kind of thing. Pretty much every pop/rock/worship/whatever musician I know thinks this way.

(Thank God for djent)

I've grown to be pretty okay with the idea that of all the musicians I know, maybe a few are interested in my ideas of what I should play and sound like. I'm really good at playing what I'm asked to play. I can, and do, make it work (meaning, I can make an audience sing, dance, head bang, etc.). I'm simply a blue collar musician who does the job right.

What has me musing about this is that since I enjoy the work, the only thing that I could foresee making me interested in the "original" scene again would have to involve either lots of money or total creative freedom. Otherwise, what would be the point?

I think my transition has been, if you'll excuse me, from blue balls to blue collar. But I still have fits of the former.

Circus Worship

There's a joke my friend Aric and I have had for years. We like to turn songs into circus polkas, usually during rehearsal. Another joke I shared with several friends is playing worship music in a minor key.

Once I combined the two under the fake band name Minor Prophets, using my friend Ross King's "You Alone Can Satisfy." Enjoy.

So, why is this funny? It's because we all understand how absurd these elements would be in the context of a worship service. The irreverence of the thing is self-evident. That musical style isn't for that.


So this weekend, Big Worship Conference™ is happening, and the current trend in worship music is electronic dance music (EDM). Lotsa young people will be jumping around to worshippy "untz" grooves, and as a result, I'll be playing them in Churches over the next year.

I'll be watching either the jumping or sheep-in-the-headlights not singing, if this year's experience mirrors the last.


Isn't it obvious? We're trying to get people to stand and sing to music not made for that. We're using it for a purpose--the reverent worship of Almighty God--for which it's not suited. It's dance music. It's not made to convey reverence, and reverence is what God says makes worship acceptable to him.

Why I Won't Shut Up About Worship Already

I know I'm a blowhard. I know that, if you read through this blog or follow me on t3h social medias that it just reads like I'm complaining about something popular in Evangelical circles all the time. Most of y'all probably just read it as "Johnny disapproves because he doesn't like it."

That's not why.

Every July 4th, or on the nearest Sunday, most Evangelicals in America will trot out this verse from 2 Chronicles: "...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Now we have to ask, "Is this a promise made to Christians today?" There are several possible answers. It could be a promise only to ancient Israel. I don't believe so, because we are still His people, called by His name. It could be that the promise was temporary TO the ancient Kingdom. I don't find that in the text. It could be either there is no God or He doesn't keep his word, but if you believe either of those the promise is moot. Or it could be, as I believe, God has made, and keeps, this promise to all His people for all time, not just during the Temple administration.

The next question, then, is, "How's the land?" As far as I can tell, it doesn't seem very healed. So the conclusion I reach is that, whatever we think we're doing, it isn't what the Lord is speaking about in this promise.

This is a concern for me in terms of the worship of the Bible-believing Church (don't care what the Bible-doubting Church does; they are irrelevant) because I believe worship drives the societal car, and whatever judgement the Lord is visiting on a nation starts in His house and moves outward. I don't blame the unbelievers; they don't have the promise.

So it's that--coming before the Lord lacking humility, not turning from iniquity, not seeking His face that concerns me when I see it, and I'm afraid I see it often. Maybe I'm overly sensitive and am seeing something else, but I refer you to the questions above.

God's Dwelling

Reading in the Revelation for Advent…

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven.

How about that? And who are those who dwell in Heaven?

But God, being rich in mercy, ...made us alive together with Christ...and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…
Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.


Spirit and Truth from St. Basil

"Another sense may however be given to the phrase, that just as the Father is seen in the Son, so is the Son in the Spirit. The worship in the Spirit suggests the idea of the operation of our intelligence being carried on in the light, as may be learned from the words spoken to the woman of Samaria. Deceived as she was by the customs of her country into the belief that worship was local, our Lord, with the object of giving her better instruction, said that worship ought to be offered in Spirit and in Truth, plainly meaning by the Truth, Himself. As then we speak of the worship offered in the Image of God the Father as worship in the Son, so too do we speak of worship in the Spirit as showing in Himself the Godhead of the Lord. Wherefore even in our worship the Holy Spirit is inseparable from the Father and the Son. If you remain outside the Spirit you will not be able even to worship at all; and on your becoming in Him you will in no way be able to dissever Him from God—any more than you will divorce light from visible objects. For it is impossible to behold the Image of the invisible God except by the enlightenment of the Spirit, and impracticable for him to fix his gaze on the Image to dissever the light from the Image, because the cause of vision is of necessity seen at the same time as the visible objects. Thus fitly and consistently do we behold the Brightness of the glory of God by means of the illumination of the Spirit, and by means of the Express Image we are led up to Him of whom He is the Express Image and Seal, graven to the like."