Dim & Dash: Shoveling Snow

Dim & Dash: Shoveling Snow | The Art of Manliness.

And for a little lighter side on this holiday Monday – and because we are having a little snowstorm here in West Michigan, which means before I head out for some Seminary library work I have to do some shoveling (which I love to do – seriously!), we include this sketch from an old series about “Dim and Dash”, who by way of contrast taught how real men react to snow. Have a wonderful holiday!

Published in: on January 2, 2012 at 12:18 PM  Leave a Comment  

Notable Sacred Music for 2011

Notable Sacred Music for 2011 | Music | Christianity Today.

Those of us who take music seriously (as we should) know how difficult it can be to find quality music in your local Christian bookstore (Which is why I advise you to go to the classical music stores or the “big box” bookstores for sacred music). Sacred choral music is simply not all that popular (read “money-making”) for these stores. With CCM (contemporary Christian music) dominating the market, the truly beautiful music gets buried. But such music is still being produced and can be found! Christianity Today has helped us considerably by giving us its list of the best sacred music for 2011 (Dec.27, 2011). The author is Jane Holstein, an editor with Hope Publishing Company and an arranger, choral clinician, organist, worship planner, and concert artist. Below are two albums that grabbed my attention; you will find the rest at the link above.


The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge
Beyond All Mortal Dreams (Hyperion)

If you’ve seen the videos of Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir, you’ll quickly get a sense for current American choral literature and the impact it’s having around the world. That may explain the release of this project, in which the Choir of Trinity College explores a cappella music written in England, primarily by living composers. This highly regarded choir demonstrates what the human voice can do with masterful poetic texts and easy-to-listen-to tonal and harmonic structure. A text by H. W. Longfellow is the basis for “The Day Is Done” by Stephen Paulus, perhaps the most-recognized composer on the disc. The album’s title comes from Paulus’s spiritual side, with his setting of “Pilgrims’ Hymn”: “Even with darkness sealing us in, we breathe your name / And through all the days that follow so fast, we trust in you / Endless your grace, beyond all mortal dream.” Newer to the scene is Juilliard graduate Ola Gjeilo, who has become extremely popular with American choirs; he demonstrates his fresh style in the closing selection “Phoenix” (written for the Phoenix Chorale), using the “Agnus Dei” from the Latin Mass. If the range of dynamics tells you anything, expect to hear this prayer for peace build to full intensity and conclude in a hush—a broad spectrum of choral sound.


The St. Olaf Choir
Great Hymns of Faith, Vol. III (St. Olaf Records)

Coming from one of America’s most preeminent choral institutions, the St. Olaf Choir models a superior sound featuring 75 mixed voices under the well-respected leadership of Anton Armstrong. With this third volume of Great Hymns of Faith, listeners are rewarded with something unique in a playlist of hymnody that will stand the test of time. Using a wide selection of hymns both classic and new, the arrangements give expression to the melodies and texts in a fresh, yet straightforward approach, as in “Rock of Ages,” unaccompanied and performed at a tempo and mood that allows for deeper reflection. The festive “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” arranged by St. Olaf’s acclaimed organist, John Ferguson, includes a splendid fanfare for organ and brass which leads into a choral proclamation: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord; come into God’s presence with a song.” The choir showcases its ability to sing with skillful inflections in a handful of global pieces, including a setting of the traditional Cameroon song, “Praise, Praise the Lord!” (known by the tune name (African Processional”).

Published in: on January 2, 2012 at 12:06 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Best of “Tabletalk” for 2011


We are still getting a few interesting end-of-year reports in, and so we include a couple more in our posts for this holiday Monday. You know how much I appreciate and use Ligonier Ministries devotional Tabletalk (tied to R.C. Sproul). Each month, a selection of feature articles from Tabletalk is posted on Ligonier’s blog. For your interest and edification, here are the ten most viewed Tabletalk articles of 2011. Click on the link above to see which ones made the list – I’ve given you a few below.


Is the Church Full of Hypocrites? by R.C. Sproul

“If a person claims to be without sin and then demonstrates sin, surely that person is a hypocrite. But for a Christian simply to demonstrate that he is a sinner does not convict him of hypocrisy.”

Why “Let Go and Let God” Is a Bad Idea by Andrew Naselli

You can tell that Keswick theology has influenced people when you hear a Christian ‘testimony’ like this: ‘I was saved when I was eight years old, and I surrendered to Christ when I was seventeen.’”

The Unholy Pursuit of God in Moby Dick by R.C. Sproul

“I believe that the greatest chapter ever written in the English language is the chapter of Moby Dick titled ‘The Whiteness of the Whale.’ Here we gain an insight into the profound symbolism that Melville employs in his novel.”

Published in: on January 2, 2012 at 11:48 AM  Leave a Comment