les miserable opening scene

O Come Emmanuel (a hip-hop Advent resource)

It’s been wonderful not blogging or surfing social media this week. Lat night, God gave me a song that I’ve had in my head for a good three years and I recorded it. Since it might be a resource for some of you, I felt like He wanted me to interrupt my fast to share it. Its hook is a hybrid between “Look Down,” the opening song of Les Miserables, and “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” I’ve kind of allowed myself an exception for my sermon podcasts over Advent as well since they don’t require investing extra effort into blogging. Below are the lyrics; here’s the audio:

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Five verses God has tattooed on my heart — #1: 1 Corinthians 1:28

In seminary, I learned to think of truth as a symphony rather than a single voice or instrument. The goal is not to get everyone to play the exact same note with the exact same instrument; the goal is to enter into harmony with each others’ instruments so that we can become God’s song. It’s not the absolute relativism of playing our own autonomous songs; that would be a disastrous cacophony of sound. Rather, we are all playing our own particular improvisational variations on God’s melody. God designs the harmonic that we have been created to inhabit by helping us appropriate a particular set of experiences of His grace and by tattooing certain verses in His word onto our hearts over the course of our lives. Though there are tons of scripture passages that have touched me, five in particular define the gospel I was given to proclaim. The first I’m going to cover is 1 Corinthians 1:28: “God chose the base things, the despised ones and those who are not, to reduce to nothing things that are.” Continue Reading

The light shines in the darkness (download my @WildGooseFest trance set!)

I have just uploaded my 25 minute trance set that I will play at Wild Goose to noisetrade.com where it is available for download. The photo was taken at Election Day Communion this past fall. Click below to check it out and tell me what you think!

light shines in darkness

Surprised by mercy: my train-wreck conversion story

I was invited to share an occasion when I was surprised by mercy. It was August 2002. I had just rushed my ex-girlfriend to the emergency room because she slit her wrists in a bathtub. I was a severely depressed, chain-smoking mess. And I discovered the gospel of mercy that I proclaim today when I opened Henri Nouwen’s book Life of the Beloved in a small group gathering where everyone other than me was a lesbian. I only remember Tanya and Pat by name, but if that group of lesbians had not been spiritual mothers who embraced and nurtured me in a time of crisis, I would not be a pastor today. I realize that talking about this will probably cause my Board of Ordained Ministry to have some questions for me, but God has commanded me to testify about the train wreck experience by which I discovered the true gospel. Because it was only in the fellowship of the despised that I could learn mercy the way God wanted me to understand it. Continue Reading

If I were to make a Christian hip-hop/electronica album…

Then my artist name would be εξουθενημενος and my album would be בן בלי שם (both of these words roughly translate to “The Nobody” because God refines my art by making people ignore it). I used to have a rock band seven years ago called the Junior Varsity Superheroes. I learned how to navigate the local rock scene and we did pretty well. Hip-hop is very much a second language to me; I learned how to rap because I was a youth pastor. I have little interest in mainstream hip-hop. I’m more interested in pursuing what it was originally: a genre geared to social critique (KRS-1, Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, etc). The 16 tracks I have shared below may appeal to the micro-constituency of people who are trying to recover from the phenomenon known as evangelical Christianity.

Our Father
Jesus Come Back
Jesus Is My Candidate
Jesus Save the World from Me
Kayal Ta-arog (Psalm 42)
The Script
Exposure
Isaiah 6
Jeremiah
The Lord Is My Shepherd
Star Spangled Banner
This Is My Father’s World
Zion
Hate
1 John
Satan