Wednesday Round Up

A few items worth noting that don’t warrant their own post.

1. David Bruce Murray reviewed Austin’s Bridge’s debut cd. He’s less obtrusive than I was and I would have taken at least another half-star off the grade for the flaccid songwriting that hobbles the project (plus two timeouts and one week of detention for making me type Austin’s Bridge’s). But ultimately DBM says more or less the same thing I did about the quality of the material on the album, or lack thereof.

2. Someone asked for the AVFL Listenability Index on Martin McBride’s new project: 82. I don’t really care enough for “How I Feel” or “Beautiful Again” to not push the SKIP button when they come round on the player (and by way of comparison, I have yet to review a southern gospel project that scored that high, or would have, though that might change soon).

3. If we have to hear tenor jokes, the ones that commenter Grigs posts here aren’t bad. They aren’t good, but they aren’t as bad as the Sister Tenor variety and that counts for something (Daniel Mount’s blog framework doesn’t generate individual anchors for comments, or else I would link to directly to the comment in question).

4. I happened upon this blog recently and thought it worth passing along. Though it’s by a songwriter, it’s not especially southern gospel in nature. It’s just often enjoyable to read. I don’t know how well the guy writes songs, but he’s a regularly entertaining blogger (hat tip, FK).

5. I’ve written about euphemisms for death in evangelical culture before, but let me just say that it is more than mildly unsettling to hear someone say that by taking sick or ill people “home to heaven,” God completely heals them. I get it, so you don’t have to email or post comments to explain to me what it “means.” But unlike euphemisms such as “homegoing” or “grand reunion,” this talk of death as healing feels emotionally untrue to the reality of living, dying and grieving. It may be not be self-delusional, but it goes beyond the fervency of belief (i.e. death as a release or a relief or a reward granted by God) and slips toward what a friend of mine recently called “bumper sticker religion” - painting everything in an idealistic, oversimplified way that experience blatantly contradicts.

6. Via Martin Roth (of course), southern gospel shows up in the oddest places. sometimes.

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  1. CVH wrote:

    Re: #5 - In an age of Christianity-lite the “ultimate healing” viewpoint reflects the culture’s inability to process life and death in both its seriousness and its simplicity. To me Ecclesiastes 3 has always summed it up best:

    For everything there is a season,
    And a time for every matter under heaven:
    A time to be born, and a time to die;
    A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
    A time to kill, and a time to heal;
    A time to break down, and a time to build up;
    A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
    A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
    A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
    A time to seek, and a time to lose;
    A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
    A time to tear, and a time to sew;
    A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
    A time to love, and a time to hate,
    A time for war, and a time for peace.

    Gilda Radner put it this way:

    I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.

    Put that in a southern gospel lyric.

  2. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Is the group name “Austin’s Bridge” or “Austins Bridge?” I wrote the review using the apostrophe, but the CD cover doesn’t have one.

    The possessive, then, would be “Austins Bridge’s,” which still feels odd to say, but looks better in print, I suppose.

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