Who’s your Daddy? Sixpence, The Fatherless & The Widow

Aside

One of my favorite shows is Undercover Boss. I am amazed that almost without fail, the powerful CEO’s, and executives that appear on the show are reduced to tears when speaking of their Fathers influence on their lives, be it good, or bad. You cannot underestimate the overwhelming power of a Dad.

 

In 1991 at age 20 I stood in the driveway of my family’s home, and watched my Dad drive out of our life. Three years later I stood over the ornate box that held his lifeless body. 23 years have passed since that difficult time, and I am here to tell you that the heartbreak, and loss that crushed me on each of those fateful days has not, and I believe, will not, ease this side of eternity. The feelings of hurt, and longing for my Dad are never far away. They quietly lurk below the surface of my heart, waiting to pounce when I least expect it. They gleefully manifest themselves via painful memory, and salty tears.
chanFrancis Chan, and his wife Lisa have written a book called You And Me Forever,(marriage in light of eternity). At the end of one chapter. Chan asks the reader to take a moment, and just think about Jesus. Then, after a few moments Chan suggests listing Jesus’ attributes that you find most compelling, or the characteristics that draw you to Him.

As I started the exercise I soon realized that one of the things that I most cherish about Christ is His role as my Abba father.  (Abba is an Aramaic word that would most closely be translated as “Daddy.” It was a common term that young children would use to address their fathers. It signifies the close, intimate relationship of a father to his child, as well as the childlike trust that a young child puts in his “daddy.” – GotQuestions.org?)

As I continued to reflect, Psalm 68:5 came to mind, “Father to the fatherless, defender of widows–this is God, whose dwelling is holy.”  When I had heard this verse previously, my view had always been that the “fatherless” in this verse referred to little kids, or your typical rag-tag orphan. I never realized until that moment that God not only cares for the fatherless little ones, but He also cares deeply for fatherless big kids like me…and you.

This realization rang true. Over the years, as I have felt the deep hole left by the absence of my Earthly Father, I have found myself leaning more on my Heavenly Father. When I pray, I refer to him as Dad. And there are times when I actually imagine crawling up into his lap, and just resting in His embrace. I need to hear from Him, I need Him to tell me that everything will be ok, and that He’s proud of me. Daily I look to him for direction in leading my own family. Without my “Heavenly Dad”, I would be lost.

 

If today you find yourself broken, hurting, rejected, or just plain lost. let me encourage you to run into the arms of your Abba Father . There you will find all the love, acceptance, peace, and contentment you will ever need.

Do you have a problem viewing God as your Dad? If so why?

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Take Off Your Pants and “Christian” Jacket? Chris Taylor, Formerly of Love Coma Speaks Out

90’s Christian “alternative” band, Love Coma, featuring Chris Taylor on lead vox , remains one of the most under-rated bands coming out of that era.
The Mike Roe, (77’s, Language of FoolsLost Dogs) produced album, Language of Fools was a fantastic record. The songs “Tomorrow Takes to Long” and “Walk in the Rain” are still two of my all time favorites, and I can’t recall a time when I did not spin at least one of those epic jams on my show.

In addition, a concert memory best is the time I was able to see Love Coma at legendary concert venue, the Power House Room in Greenville, SC. As soon as the band started playing, I realized that Matt Slocum (Sixpence None the Richer) was playing guitar. Just to make sure, I shouted, “Matt Slocum!!” My suspicion was confirmed as he quickly looked up and grinned. I felt pretty good about that, because it appeared no one else in the room had realized who he was, and few, if any, knew that he had previously been in Love Coma, before launching Sixpence None The Richer with Leigh Bingham (Nash). I have always thought that was a pretty classy move on his part, considering Sixpence was on the rise and they had just won the “Alternative/Modern Rock Album of the Year” Dove award for their record This Beautiful Mess, (their best project IMHO).

That said, I thought I would share a very honest and thought provoking post that Chris recently added to a Facebook thread found on the 90’s Christian Music Recovery Group. I’d love some feedback on this, please read and sound off. Thanks – Bill

“If a bunch of Christians got together and made jean jackets, would we call them “Christian Jean Jackets”? Even if there was no writing or symbolism on the jacket in any way… They were just made by Christians… Looks like any other jean jacket… maybe they even took the time to create some cool stitching patterns or have a darker wash than the typical jean jacket…

I think what ruined Christian music was, in the beginning… someone put that label on it and we’ve been using it ever since. We writers and singers and musicians who were and are part of a church have always been told Why, How and Where to use and play our music. We are always told by pastoral types and other religious types what we should and shouldn’t be writing about. It’s always been an uncomfortable fit for me, personally. Even leading worship in different churches over 15 years… It’s never felt right. I always felt like I had to re-invent the wheel every week. I always felt like I had to be doing what someone else’s idea of worship music was all about… and fair enough to them… it was their church… they started it and I came along later in the mix.

Even beyond church… I had this inner, nagging feeling of what and how I should be doing/using my gift… but I didn’t have the strength or bravery to do it without the shadow of other people’s opinions to hinder me. It’s taken a lifetime to shake that stuff off and write what I have to write, sing and perform the way I have to and paint what, and how, I have to paint.

Although this may sound like a wicked contradiction – My music may be deeply fused with God and the things of a spiritual nature, among many other things… It’s NOT Contemporary Christian Music made for marketing and industry purposes. I want nothing to do with that. I want nothing to do with modern worship music – not that it’s a bad thing… but people see how popular it is and just copy and paste the style… again… not a bad thing… I’m just more interested in digging within myself and seeing what I have to offer this world.

Each musician, songwriter and artist has to find their own path… I can’t knock what someone else is doing if it’s a genuine step of creativity and spiritual growth for them… The scriptures say “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” and maybe we should apply that process to why we even let someone’s idea of a marketing term “Christian Music” get in the way of what God is doing through music and art outside that label. ~ Peace to you all.”

There and Back Again: The Return Of Sixpence


As Sixpence gets ready to release their first new record in years, lead voclaist Lee Bingham Wilson reflects on the painful journey back into the band.

http://www.watchgmctv.com/news/beyond-kiss-me-sixpence-reunites-redemptive-redefining-new-album

Five 80’s Christian Albums That You Must Own: Steve Taylor – I Predict 1990

With this 80’s Christian Album pick I might freak some of you out. Others, I think, will agree wholeheartedly. This reaction seems fitting considering that’s usually the response Steve Taylor received from 80’s CCM loving masses. They either loved him, or they hated him. With Mr Taylor there was no middle ground, and part of me thinks he wouldn’t have had it any other way.

By the time Taylor unleashed 1987’s “I Predict 1990” he had already earned a well deserved reputation for biting, some would say convicting satire/sarcasm. Weather it was the anti-CCM rantings of popular TV Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, or the racial injustices taking place on the campus of Hyper-Fundi Bob Jones University. Within the “church”, few  were safe from his prophetic musical salvos.

Lest  he be accused of unfairly targeting the church, Taylor un-ashamedly blasted what he perceived as the decay of Western civilization. With apologetic acumen comparable to Francis Schaeffer, Steve tackled cultural hot button issues with a fervor. Through the song “Baby Doe” he blasted society’s slide towards infanticide, on the quirky tune “Lifeboat”, he savagely satirized the cultural relativism curriculum being taught in public schools. And in grand fashion, he scored a politically incorrect trifecta with “Whatever Happened To Sin”. In which he takes on the polarizing issues of abortion, homosexuality and the God & Country politicians who invoke the name of Jesus for votes. The music may be dated, but the themes could be ripped from today’s headlines.

I Predict 1990 was no less controversial than Taylor’s previous albums, but on “I Predict…” he hits full stride. The hooks are tight, the production top notch. Overall this project could easily fit in with Steve’s mainstream contemporaries of the time Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, or Steve Winwood. However, I seriously doubt those artist ever got into the hot water Taylor always seemed to dive into.

Before the record hit the shelves it was being banned from Mom and Pop Christian bookstores who were offended by perceived Satanic/New Age imagery on the album cover. Adding insult to injury, the band had to cancel a tour in Australia because the satirical anthem “I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good” was said to advocate violence on Abortion clinics and Abortion Dr’s.

Regarding the controversial cover, Steve said, “It wasn’t like a couple of people shooting off, enough people were believing it . At a certain point, I was spending more time defending myself than I was talking about music and the mission and all that. I’m very seldom angry. I’m usually a very happy guy. It was uncomfortable to always be defending those things that I felt were so ridiculous–[I felt like asking] ‘Should I not at least get the benefit of the doubt on some of the issues that seem pretty absurd?’  Some of that I didn’t mind because, when you’re talking about controversial songs like ‘We Don’t Need No Colour Code‘ or something like that, I’m happy to talk about that stuff, because that’s worth talking about. When you’re talking about tarot cards and new age hand signs, that’s no fun–that’s just silly. 

That, combined with just the sense that if I wanted to keep doing this, I wanted to be able to achieve certain artistic goals, as far as concerts, the production, making records, and being able to achieve a certain standard there. It was really going to require toning down or becoming more mainstream as a gospel artist to keep selling that number of records and all that stuff. To me, whatever I’m doing, there needs to be joy and there needs to be enthusiasm. I felt like I could leave at that time with all those things intact, but if I would have stayed in and did another album and did another tour that I would be definitely flirting with carrying on for the wrong reasons. It was a good time to bow out gracefully.”

Stand out cuts are “I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good”, “Since I Gave Up Hope I Feel A lot Better” (probably the best song title ever), “Babylon” and the haunting ballad “Harder to Believe Than Not To”.

Although Steve called it quits after the release of “I Predict…” his creativity could not be contained. With the power of his songwriting and production skills he went on to single-handedly save the careers of the Newsboys and Guardian. In 1993 he graced us with Squint, another musical gem released on Warner Alliance. He followed that up with “Liver” (pronounced Lie-ver) which was a raw and energetic snapshot of Steve and band touring the Squint project.

He then went on to start Squint Records and launch the careers of Sixpence None The richer, Chevelle, and Burlap To Cashmere. Perhaps you’ve heard of them.

Most recently he produced and directed the movie Blue Like Jazz, based on author Donald Miller’s best-selling “autobiography” by the same name. Blue Like Jazz is currently working its way to a theater near you.

When “I Predict…” was released I was  about 15 or 16 years old, at first the music was what drew me in, but as I soaked in the lyrics my interest and curiosity were peaked. How could it not be? I mean, the content on “I Predict…” was deep, real deep. For this reason I was compelled to research many of the names and themes in his songs. So I guess you could say that listening to Steve Taylor’s “I Predict 1990” actually made me smarter. And in the end, isn’t that what great art is supposed to do?