Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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An Evening of Songs From the Soundtrack of My Life – Paul McCartney at Summerfest   

Paul at SummerfestOn Friday, July 8, Paul McCartney performed at the Marcus Amphitheater at the Summerfest music festival on a beautiful summer evening along the shores of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee as a part of his One on One tour. It was the twelfth time I have seen the recently turned 74 year-old former Beatle in concert in the 27 years since the first time at the Rosemont Horizon (now Allstate Arena) with my brother-in-law Al in December, 1989. In addition to the recent concert in Milwaukee, I have seen him in Chicago six times (Rosemont Horizon, Soldier Field, Wrigley Field and three times at the United Center), Indianapolis (at the old Market Square Arena and twice at Conseco Fieldhouse, now known as Banker’s Life Fieldhouse), Milwaukee (the old Country Stadium) and St. Louis (the old Busch Memorial Stadium).  I was able to see former Beatle George Harrison (on his only U.S. tour in 1974) and Ringo Starr (in 2014), both in St. Louis, but sadly never did get to see John Lennon in concert before he was murdered in 1980.

I Want to Hold Your Hand SleeveAs I’ve written before, for me, McCartney concerts always stir emotions as no other concerts can, as the songs are really from the soundtrack of my life. For example…..I can remember my Aunt Linda screaming at the television in her parents’ (my grandparents) living room as the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Later in that same home, my brother Mike and I first saw the Beatles Rubber Soul album in our Aunt Cindy’s room. My first single was the late 1963 released Beatles’ two-sided hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand”/”I Saw Her Standing There”, with its black & white cover sleeve with the boys in their “Beatles suits” and McCartney holding a cigarette.

Jumping ahead, I remember seeing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the “White Album” for the first time at our K-Mart. I remember excitedly telling my Mom about Sgt. Pepper when we picked her up from work that night. I had to wait for Christmas 1968 to get the “White Album”, which was released November 22.  Do you remember all of the ‘Paul is Dead’ rumors, including listening to “Revolution #9” backwards when it said “turn me on dead man”?

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My 2016 Favorites at Mid-Year

A Few of My Favorite ThingsAs we have the mid-year point, I want to share with you some of my favorites from 2016 in a variety of categories. Except for books, these are all items that were released or took place in 2016. For books, I include my favorite books that I’ve actually read during 2016.  Enjoy, and please let me know what you think by clicking on the ‘Comment’ link above.

MUSIC:  I enjoy music in a variety of genres. My favorites were:

Albums

Top Pick:  Church Clothes 3 – LecraeChurch Clothes 3

Other albums that I’ve enjoyed have been:

Wow to the Deadness (EP) – Steve Taylor and the Danielson Foil

Fallen Angels – Bob Dylan

Stranger to Stranger – Paul Simon

Hymns II – Michael W. Smith

Salvation’s Tide is Rising – Passion

Love Riot – Newsboys

Worship and Believe – Steven Curtis Chapman

This Time Around (EP) – Tedashjii

Facing a Task Unfinished – Keith and Kristyn Getty

I’m really looking forward to two July releases – Where the Light Shines Through by Switchfoot and Hard Love by NEEDTOBREATHE .

Songs

Top pick:  Jumped Out the Whip – Tedashii

Other songs I’ve enjoyed have been:

Float – Switchfoot

My Worth Is Not In Not In What I Own – Keith and Kristyn Getty with Fernando Ortega

Vaporized – Amos LeeJumped Out the Whip – Tedashii

That Old Black Magic – Bob Dylan

It Is What It Is – Lecrae

God and God Alone – Chris Tomlin

I Trust in Christ – Matt Redman

Wow to the Deadness – Steve Taylor and the Perfect Foil

Cool Papa Bell – Paul Simon

Down to the River to Pray – Michael W. Smith

I Don’t Know Why (Jesus Loves Me) – Michael W. Smith

White Bikini – Charlie Peacock

Happiness – NEEDTOBREATHE

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Keith and Kristyn GettyFacing a Task Unfinished – Deluxe Digital Edition
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This is the first album of mostly new material from the pre-eminent modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty since 2012’s Hymns for the Christian Life (though they have released a Christmas album, live album, an EP and a live Christmas album since that time). The studio album, recorded in Nashville’s historic Ocean Way Recording studio, champions mission and congregational singing, features the Getty’s excellent band, live congregational singing and a few special guest appearances (Chris Tomlin, Fernando Ortega, John Patitucci and Ladysmith Black Mambazo). The album is produced by Nathan Nockels.

The Deluxe digital edition features 17 songs. Here are a few brief comments about each of these wonderful songs, a true gift to the church:

Facing a Task Unfinished – This hymn was originally written in 1931 by China Inland Mission (now OMF International) worker Frank Houghton with music by Samuel Wesley. The Getty’s were asked by OMF to add a new chorus to the hymn, and they were joined by Ed Cash, and Fionan de Barra. An estimated one million believers in more than 5,000 churches in 100 countries joined together to sing this new hymn on February 21. The chorus below was added to the original hymn, and the recording features some excellent congregational singing:

We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord

May the Peoples Praise You – This is an upbeat hymn that features the Getty’s “green grass” band feel.  Inspired by Psalm 67, this hymn is a call to worship and mission.

May the peoples praise You
Let the nations be glad
All Your blessing comes
That we may praise
May praise the Name of Jesus

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Everyone should see the Movie “The BFG”

The BFGThe BFG (Big Friendly Giant), rated PG
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This film is based on the 1982 children’s book by Roald Dahl. Dahl, who also wrote “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach” which were also made into films, wrote “The BFG” in the last decade of his life and said it was the favorite of his books.

The new film (there was also a cartoon version of the book in 1989), is directed by three-time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg. The screenplay was written by the late Melissa Mathison who was nominated for an Oscar (for 1982’s ET), and to whom the film is dedicated. John Williams does the music score, the twenty-fourth time he has done so for a Spielberg film.

Ruby Barnhill portrays the ten year-old orphan Sophie who doesn’t sleep well. One night about 3:00 am Sophie sees the lanky twenty-four foot giant played by Mark Rylance (Oscar winner for the 2015 Spielberg-directed Bridge of Spies), outside of the orphanage. The BFG is afraid that she will expose him to others, so he takes her to Giant Country where he lives.

Sophie is initially afraid of the BFG, but a friendship begins to grow with this gentle giant. She finds out BFG puts dreams into the heads of children and other “human beans”, and that he is regularly bullied by the nine much larger giants. You will love how he humorously mangles the English language.

Sophie gets an idea to travel to London to visit Queen Victoria, voiced by Penelope Wilton (of Downton Abbey) for assistance with the mean larger giants. And oh yes, BFG also has quite an issue with flatulence when he consumes a certain drink, which are referred to as “whiz poppers”.

The CGI (computer generated animation) in this film is just amazing, especially the facial expressions and the enormous ears of BFG. The film contains themes of loneliness, love, friendship and family. It might be a bit dark and scary for wee ones.  Mark Rylance as the BFG and Ruby Barnhill as Sophie have great chemistry and they are perfect in their roles. I highly recommend this film for “children” of all ages, my favorite movie of 2016 thus far.