E. Byron Anderson is Professor of Worship at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. His most recent book Common Worship: Tradition, Formation, Mission explores the various tensions of the Church's worship: traditional vs. contemporary, habit vs. freedom, canon vs. creativity, unity vs. diversity, and mission focused worship vs. congregationally focused worship. However, instead of pitting these concepts against each other, he puts them in conversations that cause pastors, worship leaders, and all Christ followers to ask tough questions about the intention behind how their liturgies are formed and how they are forming their people.
Singer-songwriter and musician released his latest album Every Power Wide Awake late last year, and it's slowly been building buzz with people on the look out for great independent music as well as with church worship leaders. We go in-depth about his career in the music industry (he previously fronted the band The Lonely Forest for over a decade) and the stories behind the songs on the new album.
Artist Alec DeJesus was first a guest on the podcast a year ago. Since then he's had some of his highest highs and lowest lows. He found success with an art commission through Broward College in Florida, painting two murals for them, but then progress on the murals wasn't happening and he almost gave up on art altogether. In the end he didn't abandon his art career and he found tremendous success in actually getting the murals done and inspiring a group of young artists at the college.
Gretchen Filz is a writer and communicator with the Catholic Company and an editor at the daily devotional Morning Offering. In our conversation we discuss the work she is doing developing a catechism for the Catholic faith at: www.goodcatholic.com, as well as her personal journey to Catholicism. You can find many of her writings at:
Ha Ha Tonka is a band originally from southern Missouri, who've released five albums through Bloodshot Records. Their music is a seamless mixture of American music: classic rock, southern rock, country, folk, and Americana. The important thing is their songs are amazing. Episode 64 features an interview with their lead singer Brian Roberts, who connected over the phone for a conversation with Chris and guest host Ben Mitzelfelt about their early years and the stories behind a number of their songs.
Listen to Ha Ha Tonka's music, look at tour dates and find out more at their website: http://www.hahatonkamusic.com/
Jaci Music paints abstract landscapes filled with symbols open to a surplus of interpretations...but she never really intended to...Jaci's story is one of an artist whose creativity was borne out of her pain. After numerous years of sorrow, frustration, and longsuffering from infertility she began to paint simply for the sake of her own personal health. You can find out more about Jaci at: http://www.capturedandreclaimed.com/
Stephen Backhouse is a theologian and teacher and the author of Kierkegaard: A Single Life, a biography and survey of the work of the iconoclastic Danish writer Soren Kierkegaard. You can find out more about Stephen's Tent Theology teaching program at: https://www.tenttheology.com/ While our conversation is mostly about Kierkegaard and his work, we also discuss the dangers of Christian Nationalism (or Christendom), including a segment on whether or not American Christians should recite the Pledge of Allegiance, the dangers of being an ordained minister within the institution of the Church, and how Arcade Fire's album Reflektor was inspired by Kierkegaard.
Pastor Dan Leman discusses the background and poetry of the book of Lamentations, and how God births art out of tragedy. The music and Rachel Wilhelm, Bifrost Arts, and Nathan Peterson are also mentioned in the intro.
Nathan Peterson returns to the podcast for an in depth discussion of his recent song "Is It a Sin?" It's not so much an interview as it is a conversation about the song and how we respond to art that challenges us and perhaps even offends us. Please check out out www.nathanpeterson.net for Nathan's music and writings.
Jeremy Casella is a singer-songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee. He has released four albums over the years and is currently putting on a Kickstarter campaign to fund his fifth album Spirit. Jeremy is an artist I've had the privilege to get to know over the years after meeting him after a Caedmon's Call concert in 2004. Episode 59 features two interviews with him, one from 2014 done right before a house show he did in 2014 after the release of his album Death in Reverse and the other done this past week on the phone as his kids were home from school in a series of perpetual snow days. Finally, this episode also contains a brief interview (and update) with artist Nathan Peterson, who was on the podcast last fall, where I speak to him about the vinyl release of his EP So Am I.