Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What I'm Reading and Watching

First of all, I'm trying to do more of the former and less of the latter... so I'm going to try to make this post sound like I'm doing a LOT of reading and very little TV watching- hardly any. Here's my best shot at it...

"The Online Looking Glass": Ross Douthat is my favorite editorialist. This article is prophetic, and something I have to think about all the time. Why do we feel the need to blog, post our thoughts and pictures online for the world to see? It can lead to the dark place of narcissism.

"Miami Heat Needs to Work on Their People Skills": I'm one of the "billions" that enjoyed watching the Heat lose Sunday night. But why? Mike Lopresti has a good take.

"The Reason for God": This is one of those books that I'm ashamed I haven't read yet. Speaking of prophetic, there's a reason God has put his favor all over Tim Keller's writings and ministry. He's worth hearing.

Team of Rivals: I'll be reading this book for awhile...

"Mere Christianity": This won't be the last time I talk about reading and (currently) listening to this book by C.S. Lewis. Next to the Bible, this is my most frequented book. Writing about it is my way of prodding you to take and read, not throwing out the excuse "I read it once back in college."

"Revelation: God Wins" (itunes podcast or website): Speaking of what I'm listening to... My partner's bro, Bob Thune Jr., just finished rocking this series on Revelation. People ask about my view on Revelation and end times... Bob articulates them in his journey through Revelation with his church, Coram Deo. Revelation is cyclical, allegorical, and as much about the past (the cross) as the future. As GK Chesterton said, "And though St. John saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators." God won, and he will win. God wins. We were going to teach through this at Veritas this fall, but I think we're headed for Luke's two books this fall and spring...

Samuel and the Epistles: I'm reading the ESV in a year. I'm not loving the ESV, mostly because it doesn't follow the most natural lingual paths. On the other hand, it's more literal translation colors in certain parts of the text. For example, this morning in Colossians 2:18 the ESV uses "asceticism" where the NIV uses "false humility." An argument could be made for either word choice, but I hadn't heard "asceticism" used before in that passage and it seemed to help me understand what Paul was conveying. Next year I think I'm going to give the Holman translation a shot.

Joshua 6 and related commentaries: I'm preaching on the fall of Jericho this week at Veritas. Last week Jeff took one for the team, taking on the issue of circumcision in Joshua 5.

Now to the candy section of life- what I've been watching:

I just subscribed to FreddeGredde's youtube channel thanks to Todd Wallace's twitter post.

Sarah Palin's explanation of Paul Revere. That's just plain sad; enough to end someone's political career.

I recorded the Republican debate last night but I'm not sure if I'll get around to watching it. I'm a little jaded when it comes to politics right now, but I know I should be informed and prayerful for our leaders and country.

Truth be told, the reason for less tv watching is seasonal. NBA finals are over, who cares about baseball until late September?, and we have a 3 month lull until kickoff of college/NFL football.

For now, I'll get back to pretending I like to read more than watch tv...

Monday, June 13, 2011


It's official.

The new name for the former "Anthem Iowa City" band is "Adoleo", Latin for "I worship"

"Adoleo" reflects our desire to produce worship music that's connected to and flows out of our local church here in Iowa City. We use Latin phrases as a reminder that we are joining the Ancients in our pursuit of truth (Veritas) and writing music (Adoleo) that rightly glorifies God. As Bach said, "Music's only purpose should be the glory of God and the recreation of the human spirit." (click here for Bach article)

Names are important not only because they are a statement of who you are, but who you are becoming. We are so prone to pride and the pursuit of fame and fortune- it's in us. And yet, it seems that we are joining a growing movement of song writers in the church (not just our church, but globally) who believe there has to be another way of making music that exalts Christ, not people. It's got to be about something bigger than fame and fortune... something that will far outlast this life, namely Jesus and his Church. Therefore "Adoleo" cautions us to be and become humble followers who exist to worship Jesus Christ and inspire hope in his followers.

"Adoleo" will also remind us that life is an act of worship. The word has the idea of offering burnt sacrifices. Paul takes the Old Testament concept of "sacrifice" and explains how that should look for us, on the other side of the cross. Romans 12:1, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your rational service to God." The "no duh" of life is to live every moment of it for God. So "Adoleo" is not just a style of music, it's a way of life. Every moment is a burnt offering for Christ. As our people listen to the music, we hope that they will not just hear melodies, but precious promises that become a way of life.

Adoleo is in the studio recording as we speak. The sound is going to be raw, slightly more acoustic driven than what you've heard on previous Anthem albums (indie-ish), at times a bit lyrically unconventional yet authentic (typical of Anthem i.e. "To Hear You"), a touch of banjo, soulful ballads, and a few tasty mainstream melodies. Overall the lining is a little darker in the clouds, yet filled with hope and joy. "This Hope", the probable album title, will be released sometime in August/September.

Until then I'll chide Clint and James to get us all something to listen to. I'll post it when I get it.

If you have some ideas for the album design, send them to me.

There's also a rumor that Anthem in Ames has some plans for another album- we can't wait for that... live album?

Thanks, Mary Ann for the tip on the name.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Veritas in the Marriott

We made our third big move as a church.

Last summer we started with some informal gatherings in a family's basement, moved to potlucks at random parks, then officially launched Veritas church on September 12 in Hotel Vetro.

In less than 9 months from our launch date, we have outgrown the space at Vetro and yesterday we had our first service in the Marriott. I LOVED it!
Clint gathered his setup crew of about 20 at 6 a.m...
Jeff quickly took over and started giving orders, from everything big (new truss system to hang speakers, lights, etc)...
... to the smallest details of tri-folding the programs. To his credit, he had his work cut out for him here, though, teaching the football player how to get it done, "C'mon, Forgy, nice and straight..."
In addition to the better accessibility (right off I-80/1st Ave), more parking, bigger room with better acoustics, easier load in... we have coffee!!!!! And the best part of waking up is that it wasn't Folgers in my cup (Folgers, I'm still bitter you didn't pick Ryan Seiler and Clint Robinson's jingle for your commercial)
I preached for the 3rd time in a row, which is unusual for us, as we have a "team preaching" approach. I'm excited for Jeff to get back in the saddle next week, but the timing of Joshua 3-4 was perfect for helping us keep our focus on Christ. It's about the Israelites crossing the Jordan river by the powerful work of God, and it happened "so that all peoples on earth will know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever." (4:24)

We feel His presence with us, just like the Israelites. "The Narratives: Modern Truth, in Ancient Stories" is our series title, and fitting... The biggest theme I've seen in studying through Joshua is how clearly God is the main character. He is great and greatly to be praised.

To God be the glory for providing amazing spaces for us to meet in and for drawing more and more people to Christ. Lead on, O King Eternal...

Thursday, June 2, 2011


This article in usatoday fascinates me... Read it here. Yesterday I spent some time at the skatepark. I often wonder why, considering the only shredding I'm doing these days is my finger... (Don't worry Veritas softball team, I'm hoping I'll be good to go for tonight):
All the talk with the locals here at the Iowa City skatepark revolved around youtube drama. So I thought the timing of this youtube article was interesting. Everyone in the world with a computer, camera, and internet connection has access to this "gold rush".

Some quotes...

"Interacting with your audience through video is unquestionably a new dimension for TV as we know it, and people are inventing new content formats all the time...YouTube has democratized the concept of the professional"

"What [consumers] do care about, however, is being entertained, and in that sense we're in a new Gold Rush era..."

I wonder what this means for the church. Here are a few common responses...
1. Fortress... by creating our own subculture. Because we all know God needs his own "tube" and social networking site.
2. Withdraw... by cutting the internet cable
3. Engage... by being the most innovative and creative in a way that reflects God.

What does #3 look like? I'm not sure. Ideas?