the Paisley Schwa

Saying something witty here is way overrated. But then again, so is rebelling against saying something witty. What a quandry.



This is a small review of Mark Driscoll's Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church.

This is not a book for those uncomfortable with brutal honesty. This is also not for those who are uncomfortable with those who don't mince words when relaying thoughts and concepts.

As others have noted, the book chronicles Mars Hill Church. No easy task starting a church, and the things he discusses shouldn't suprise anyone.

Dealing with radically broken people in a radically broken world 'ain't too pretty' at times. What that means is that Driscoll seems to have been able to get at people 'where they live' and has somehow mangaged to be theologically conservative and obvious at the same time. While assessment of 'success' in church circles tends to be elusive at times, it does seem that Driscoll has found a way in Seattle that acknowledges the 'elephant in the rooom' as well as the 'camel whose nose is already in the tent' and deal with them both accordingly.

'A brush of idealism paints the first-century church.' So begins the sermon series on 1 Corinthians that Mars Hill Seatlle is working through. What Driscoll does is challenge our notions of the church as being a 'morally perfected' group of people on earth. At the end of the day, the church WANTS to look in the mirror and say, 'Oh, all of the problems are OUT THERE SOMEWHERE, and never inside ME.' This is something the Scriptures just won't allow us to do.

Chew it up and spit out the bones...(if there are any).


Deductions I Vow to Legally Take Some Day...

I saw this particular deduction whilst browsing through the IRS Publication 526. Odd, I know, but I vow to take this one legally some day. I guess I've got a lot of work to do between now and then. Perhaps I should start with becoming an Eskimo. That might be one of the harder bits.


AWESOME GOD kid's worship cd, Sovereign Grace Ministries (and other search engine attractors!)

I was first exposed to the music of the People of Destiny International (PDI) back in 1997 through a WORSHIP LEADER magazine sampler. WE SING YOUR MERCIES was the first tune I heard. At that time, as a worship leader, I was in the first pangs of setting up some guidelines about which songs I should select for public worship. The text was ultra strong compared to some of the other things on offer at the time. The tune was modern and the style was pop/rock without being annoying. This began my affections for PDI music. I snatched up a few discs and began to put the songs in heavy rotation. At the time, although the texts and tunes were strong, the production value of the discs seemed a bit low to me. Some of the actual recorded sounds (some of the keyboard patches and drum sounds in particular) seemed a bit plastic at the time. But the texts were sooooo strong that I couldn’t NOT use them!

To their great credit, the PDI folks (now known as Sovereign Grace Ministries) have really grown in their production values, and of course, the texts are as strong as ever. Even for the Sovereign Grace Kids offering AWESOME GOD.

I agreed to review this disc on my blog with a certain time stipulation which I have long-since missed. Please accept my apologies, SGM.

I’m almost afraid to say that with this disc targeted at kids, that TPFKAPDI (the people formerly known as PDI) have raised the bar not only for devotional music for kids, but perhaps also for adults, being that there are a few tunes on this disc that I would consider using for public worship for all ages!

This is a class act from start to finish. With sounds that seemed to be aimed at the ‘tweeners’, the cover has an insert that can be displayed four different ways, showing in essence, four different covers—a tasty shot of some part of a galaxy taken by the Hubble, a nice picture of a brilliant yellow flower with a butterfly, the Mohawk on a zebra’s head, and a nice pic of an ocean wave. The Bible is very clear about the Creator of the universe drawing praise out of us when we see the wonderful things He has made, and this cover points in that direction.

The lyric book is printed in a sans serif font, and the lyrics are very clear to read. The liner notes are in a smaller font, and all the colors found on the disc and artwork are vibrant.

The only thing I would change on the artwork is the font that is used for the title—it’s kind of a neo-chalky-grungy look. This is by no means a turnoff, and probably says more about me than it does the project!

I must say that I’m impressed with the choices made on when to include the children singing. I don’t know what it is, but kids seem to like to hear other kids singing. I don’t if that’s because we adults pigeon-hole them because we make music like that or what. The majority of the singing work in the verses of the songs are shouldered by adult voices, and the younger folks get in on the choruses. And this isn’t the ‘let’s haul the kids up front to sing in the service so all the adults will overlook their lack of precision in singing because they’re just sooooo cute” singing, the kid’s sections are sung very well! KUDOS!

The styles range from straight ahead, overdriven guitar driven rock, to jangly, Beatlesy bouncing (with a Stevie Wonder sounding harmonica!) to some punk-influenced stuff, as well as including some standard P&W or CCM (in the sound genre sense of those terms).

I’m glad to say that all the things I noticed in 1997 about PDI (SGM) production being a bit behind are completely absent from this project! Everything sounds like the real deal—good crunchy guitars, nice key/piano sounds, and the drums sound great too.

Lyrically, the beautiful part about this disc verses some of the typical kid’s music is that they are truly theo-centric, focusing on the revealed truths of the Bible—there’s no ‘we are climbing Jacob’s ladder’ type stuff here (as if we should even be on Jacob’s ladder!) Check them out if you’re not familiar with the texts—I would consider them continuing in the strong tradition of hymn writing, with God and His character and actions being center, and not being overwhelmed by our subject response to God, although this is present.

When I first got the disc in the mail, I put it on our big speakers at home while I did some stuff around the house. I’ve been working on some kind of theory about when repetition slips into triteness, and I’m still a long way from solidifying anything on it, but I mention it only to say that I noticed a certain little melody/lyric bit that was crossing the line. ‘You go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.” I was about to put this in the ‘too far category’ until I looked at the lyrics and saw that the track was named ‘Forever God’. A big smile came over my face. The repeated music and text (on and on) combined to give a little earthly taste of what it would mean for God to be an eternal being! A wonderful marriage of text and tune!

Both of my girls (8 & 5) listened to it, and I know that the older one will be humming these for a while!

Great job, TPFKAPDI! And please accept my apology for my slack.