Category Archives: Bible and Theology

#389: Brother John Michael Talbot

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #389, on the subject of Brother John Michael Talbot.

Some time before I got to the radio station there were The Talbot Brothers, Terry and John Michael.  I never heard anything they did together, but I did eventually hear a cassette recording from Terry, of which I remember nothing but that his picture was on the case.  It was his brother John Michael who caught everyone’s attention in the contemporary Christian music world.

It might help to understand that the Jesus Movement was not only heavily Evangelical and Charismatic, it was strongly influenced by that branch of Evangelicalism that was at least suspicious of Roman Catholicism, and many of those who came to faith in Jesus had previously abandoned a familial connection to that church.  It was thus shocking to many (I think including Terry) when John Michael Talbot joined a monastery.  (At some point he founded his own, but I only recently learned that and don’t know whether he started that way.)

In an interview somewhere he made the comment that the Roman Catholic Church was doctrinally sound–perhaps a rather shocking statement for many in the Jesus movement.

Unfortunately I do not recall the title of the one album I know we had, and do not recognize the cover among those released when I was at the station, nor any of the song titles.  The opening song Sunrise of his 1982 album Troubadour Of The Great King captures something of the essence of his quiet meditative style, a significant contrast against the rock sound he and his brother had produced earlier.

*****

The series to this point has included:

  1. #232:  Larry Norman, Visitor;
  2. #234:  Flip Sides of Ralph Carmichael;
  3. #236:  Reign of the Imperials;
  4. #238:  Love Song by Love Song.
  5. #240:  Should Have Been a Friend of Paul Clark.
  6. #242:  Disciple AndraĆ© Crouch.
  7. #244: Missed The Archers.
  8. #246: The Secular Radio Hits.
  9. #248:  The Hawkins Family.
  10. #250:  Original Worship Leader Ted Sandquist.
  11. #252:  Petra Means Rock.
  12. #254:  Miscellaneous Early Christian Bands.
  13. #256:  Harry Thomas’ Creations Come Alive.
  14. #258:  British Invaders Malcolm and Alwyn.
  15. #260:  Lamb and Jews for Jesus.
  16. #262:  First Lady Honeytree of Jesus Music.
  17. #264:  How About Danny Taylor.
  18. #266:  Minstrel Barry McGuire.
  19. #268:  Voice of the Second Chapter of Acts.
  20. #272:  To the Bride Live.
  21. #276:  Best Guitarist Phil Keaggy.
  22. #281:  Keith Green Launching.
  23. #283:  Keith Green Crashing.
  24. #286:  Blind Seer Ken Medema.
  25. #288:  Prophets Daniel Amos.
  26. #290:  James the Other Ward.
  27. #292:  Rising Resurrection Band.
  28. #294:  Servant’s Waters.
  29. #296:  Found Free Lost.
  30. #299:  Praise for Dallas Holm.
  31. #302:  Might Be Truth and the Cleverly-named Re’Generation.
  32. #304:  Accidental Amy Grant.
  33. #312:  Produced by Christian and Bannister.
  34. #315:  Don Francisco Alive.
  35. #324:  CCM Ladies of the Eighties.
  36. #329:  CCM Guys at the Beginning.
  37. #332:  The Wish of Scott Wesley Brown.
  38. #335:  Bob Bennett’s First Matters.
  39. #342:  Fireworks Times Five.
  40. #345:  Be Ye Glad.
  41. #358:  DeGarmo and Key, Not a Country Band.

#387: The Song “Our God Is Good”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #387, on the subject of The Song “Our God Is Good”.

I think I must have started writing this in the summer of 1986.  I remember being out in the yard at our Carney’s Point Manor Avenue home singing the two choruses and figuring out how they fit together.  I feel like I had this partial song, including the background music, for months without any progress.

Then we started into the 1988 Presidential Election race, and, wow, did that give me ideas.

1987 Democratic Presidential Primary Candidates, left to right:
Senator (later Vice President) Al Gore,
Representative Richard Gephardt,
Governor Michael Dukakis,
Senator (later Vice President and now President) Joe Biden,
Reverend Jesse Jackson,
Governor Bruce Babbitt,
and Senator Paul Simon.

For those who do not remember the race, there were more candidates vying for the office than you can easily remember.  Ronald Reagan was ending his second term, and it was not entirely clear that the party was going to support his Vice President George (Herbert Walker) Bush to replace him.  Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Senator Gary Hart seemed to be the frontrunner.

Then Hart perhaps stupidly challenged the media to prove their allegations that he was having an affair–and they did.  Hart dropped out of the race before our accompanying photo was taken.

Joe Biden was knocked out of the race for being a chronic plagiarist and liar.  On the Republican side, it was uncovered that Christian Broadcasting Network president and 700 Club host Reverend Pat Robertson’s wife was pregnant before they were married.  Candidates were dropping like flies.

Former President Richard Milhouse Nixon once said that it was the job of the media to examine all politicians with a microscope, but in his case they used a proctoscope.

As I reflected on all this, it struck me that people expected our government leaders to be above reproach, but that we as people were not.  From that I constructed the verses, recalling those three specific cases, and challenging that if we want moral leaders we need to be moral people.

This recording features four vocals over midi instruments.  I had envisioned a fifth voice, a bass vocal beneath the second chorus, but was concerned that it would interfere with the bass guitar part so I didn’t attempt it.  I wrote it for piano, and then figured out how to play it on guitar, but the bass part was always part of the music.  I ranked the song twenty-third for quality of words and music, fifteenth for performance and recording, as it was well done; it just made Tristan’s list, tied for fifteenth, and so tied for twenty-second with last month’s song.  (The rating system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)

Our God Is Good.

So here are the words:

Our God is good.
Our God is good.
Our God is good.
Our God is good.

What does it matter, telling little lies?
Who’s ever hurt by words we plagiarize?
Hypocrites do these things ‘most ev’ry day,
But make our leaders care for what they say.

Our God is good.
Our God is good.
Our God is good.
Our God is good.

Ev’ryone wants to have a little fling.
Brief infidelities don’t mean a thing.
But when a leader does it, it’s a crime.
We crucify our leaders ev’ry time.

Only the Lord alone is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.

Past indiscretions all should be forgot’–
Put them behind you.  But the world will not,
For ev’ry leader’s life’s an open book.
Open the pages; come and take a look.

Our God is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.
Our God is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.
Our God is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.
Our God is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.

We are the people–people, “they” are we.
All that we are is what our leaders be.
How can a leader be a moral man?
He can be only what the people can.

Our God is good.
Our God is good.
Our God is good.
Our God is good.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  My Life to You | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy” | #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice”

#386: An Unsolicited Private Review

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #386, on the subject of An Unsolicited Private Review.

Sunday morning (3/14/2021) I received a private message from a new Patron (from the United Kingdom) on my Patreon page.  He had read Why I Believe, and wrote to thank me.  I wanted to share his comments with you, without exposing his identity; some personal notes have been expunged in what follows, and I’ve done a bit of formatting.

I just finished reading Why I Believe and I am grateful for having been given your name (you may remember our recent correspondence as to how your name came to me–quite mysteriously) and for working through your book.  It was worth the effort.  I feel as though I have attended a masterclass on the subject–not thinking, beforehand, that I had met the criteria needed to be enrolled….[T]his is a humourous comment–anyone with an enquiring mind can read and understand the book if they give it a chance.  I have learned something (things, actually) from you, of great value and importance in my life….I have just taken out a patronage which I will keep going for as long as I can….Before I continue into what could be a major ramble, I just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for offering to me an intelligent and extremely well explained reasoning as to why I do believe that which until some months ago I had only ever suspected, i.e., His existence and His purpose.

My best wishes to you, personally, and for your continuing and growing success and recognition.

[Name omitted for privacy] (UK)

I am very pleased and encouraged by these comments, the first independent and unsolicited response I have received to the book, and I hope that more of you are finding the book valuable.  Please feel free to share your thoughts with me, and of course with others who might benefit from reading it.

#382: The Song “Not Going to Notice”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #382, on the subject of The Song “Not Going to Notice”.

I am guessing that I wrote this sometime in the late ’70s, although it might have been as late as the early ’80s.  It’s a country song, and I have never taken country music terribly seriously.  Perhaps that influenced my rating on it, putting it number thirty-one for quality of the song, number 17 for quality of the recording and performance.  Tristan, though, ranked it tied for fifth, pulling it up to number twenty-two, tied with another to be published next month.

I am persuaded that country songs need to be funny.  My favorite country song is still Put Another Log On the Fire.  This one is light-hearted, with several parts of it very tongue-in-cheek, and I hope it brings a smile to the faces of at least a few listeners.  I connect it in my mind to my Sandy Becker Theory of Eschatology which I was starting to develop around the same time.  Both say that there’s no point to our arguments about the second coming or the end of the world or what heaven is like.  We can’t really know anyway, until it is ultimately revealed.

The recording, three vocals over midi instruments, is here.  If I could do it again it would be a tad faster, but it’s decent as is.

Not Going to Notice.

So here are the words:

You know that Jesus said He’d come again,
And raise us all from death, immortal men,
And then He’ll take us home
With a body like His own,
And we will be in heaven with Him then.

But I’m not going to notice, no siree!
‘Cuz when I finally reach eternity
Through the laughter and the tears,
For at least a million years
My precious Savior Jesus is all I’ll see.

You know the dead will rise out of their graves.
Well, that’s the kind of news that should make waves,
And then we’re going to fly
Just to meet Him in the sky,
And all the world will know that Jesus saves.

But I’m not going to notice, no siree!
‘Cuz when I finally reach eternity
Through the laughter and the tears,
For at least a million years
My precious Savior Jesus is all I’ll see.

They say that I can walk through any wall,
Or step off of high buildings and not fall,
And I’ll mount with eagle’s wings,
And do a million crazy things
That now I just can’t understand at all.

But I’m not going to notice, no siree!
‘Cuz when I finally reach eternity
Through the laughter and the tears,
For at least a million years
My precious Savior Jesus is all I’ll see.

Maybe I’ll meet Moses or have a chat with Paul;
Andrew, Peter, James, and John, I’m sure to meet them all!
I’ll have a chance to get to know each famous chosen man:
Eat breakfast with Isaiah and lunch with Abraham.

Many of my friends will meet me there;
We’ll have a great reunion in the air.
Won’t you come now?  Don’t be late!
Turn to Jesus, then go straight.
It’s a party to which nothing can compare.

But I’m not going to notice, no siree!
‘Cuz when I finally reach eternity
Through the laughter and the tears,
For at least a million years
My precious Savior Jesus is all I’ll see.

No, I’m not going to notice, no, not me,
‘Cuz when I finally reach eternity
Through the laughter and the tears,
For at least a million years
My precious Savior Jesus is all I’ll see.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  My Life to You | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy”

Next Song:  #387:  Our God Is Good

#378: The Song “A Song of Joy”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #378, on the subject of The Song “A Song of Joy”.

This song is also tied for nineteenth on the list; I ranked it sixteenth for the overall quality of the song and twenty-seventh for the quality of the recording, but Tristan had it on his list, tied at number nine.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)  The recording is another done with midi instruments, and in this case a second vocal part which was out of my range is covered by a midi trumpet in places.  It lacks the punch of a live recording, but captures the essence otherwise.  I think, too, that it should have been just a touch faster.

This is probably the third song in which I shifted between a 4/4 (or in this case a 2/4) and a 3/4, and put the the accent on the upbeat of the second beat of the three–quite prominently in this case.  It may have been, like Free, inspired by the work of Conrad Gempf; in any case, it was written around that time, in my first year at Gordon College.

That also means that The Last Psalm had broken up, and as I came out of the first bridge I thought it needed a lively instrumental, but as I would be doing it solo I wasn’t going to have a lead guitarist to play such a thing.  Thus I wrote a vocal cadenza for the space.  I connected with my then-fiance (and now wife for decades) at the wedding of a cousin, and she said that I should write a second vocal for it (not that I could perform it with two voices, but that she wanted to sing along), so I did.

We were working on it with Collision, and I feel a bit stupid about it because the problem was that Jonathan could not master the very difficult second vocal on the cadenza (singing it an octave lower), and it never occurred to me to have him play it on the keys.  Because of this failure on my part, it was cut from an originally planned place on the Collision: Of Worlds EP.  Some notes on it as part of the Collision repertoire are on the web here.  It was previously performed by both TerraNova and Cardiac Output.

I expect the lyrics arose from the music on the verses, being written together with the melody.  It was just such an upbeat sound that it had to be about something like joy.  I do not at all remember how I managed to include the major shift into the feel of the bridge.

I liked the gentle suspended ending featured in this recording and followed by Collision.  In TerraNova, Jerry Cregger thought that too many of my songs ended with what he generalized as “fade out” endings, which in his assessment included this one (along with Walkin’ In the Woods, Voices, and Time Bomb, but I don’t really agree about the first of those), and so an additional short vocal tag was added to give it a more powerful end.

The recording is here.

A Song of Joy.

So here are the words:

I’m singin’ to the Lord a song of joy.
He always gives me ev’ry thing I need.
He gives me life and breath and life again,
And now I want to say He’s Lord indeed.

He gives me life initially,
Increasingly,
Abundantly,
Assuredly,
Eternally.

I’m singin’ to the Lord a song of joy.
He’s always been a great and wondrous King.
He leads me in the way that I should go,
And now I want to give Him ev’rything.

He gives me joy initially,
Increasingly,
Abundantly,
Assuredly,
Eternally.

I don’t know what Satan really has to offer,
But I know he’s only trying to destroy,
And I’ve met the only one who’s from the Father–
If you turn to Him, He’ll fill you with His joy.

I’m singin’ to the Lord a song of joy.
He’s given me a brand new life to live,
And now I am convinced beyond a doubt
He gives me ev’rything there is to give.

I don’t know what Satan really has to offer,
But I know he’s only trying to destroy,
And I’ve met the only one who’s from the Father–
If you turn to Him, He’ll fill you with His joy.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  My Life to You | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom”

Next Song:  #382:  Not Going to Notice

#375: Fixing the Focus

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #375, on the subject of Fixing the Focus.

I have previously written decrying polarization, and have touched on it enough times since that it is a key word in this web log.  It concerns me that things are not improving.

Being a moderate, I have discussions with people on both sides of the divide.  In the wake of the past few months, some–Christians–have been actively attempting to prove that the Presidency has been stolen by voter fraud on a massive scale, while others–also Christians–have been thanking God that the madman has been removed from the White House.  Both reactions seem extremist to me, and somewhat foolish, but I understand them.

Obviously the attack on the Capitol building in Washington was unreasonable.  The degree to which President Trump was responsible for this is something that will probably be discussed for a long time, even if it is decided by Congress.

As to that, I think that the impeachment action is a vindictive and undemocratic display of fear.  There are only two reasons to impeach a departing President.  One is to make it possible for him to face criminal charges for actions taken while in office, which means that the evidence will have to be taken to the courts if the impeachment motion carries.  The other is to prevent the man from running for office again–and that’s the undemocratic part of it.  It suggests that the party in control of Congress believes it is possible that the outgoing President could be re-elected in a future run, and they want to prevent his millions of supporters from being able to put him back in office–clearly an attack against their rights.

As my friend John Walker recently posted on Facebook,

When either side of a political structure tries to convince you that the the opposite view is the enemy, it’s time to stop believing in sides.

Yet both sides have been espousing this for most of this new century, and our political landscape is riddled with people who believe it.

It has been so for long enough that I am fairly certain nothing I can say will have a significant impact on this.

Yet I will not say nothing.

I will, rather, cite a preacher I heard on my local Christian radio station this week.  He very wisely said that Christians are called to bring about spiritual change, not political change.  Political and economic and social change might come from spiritual change–it has happened in the past–but our calling is to focus on the spiritual, to point people to Christ.  Christians fighting political battles are probably missing what is truly important.

‘Nuf said.

#372: The Song “Heavenly Kingdom”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #372, on the subject of The Song “Heavenly Kingdom”.

This song is tied for nineteenth on the list; I ranked it number eight for the overall quality of the song, and Tristan included it on his list, albeit at the bottom, tied for fifteenth.  The problem pulling it down was although there is a decent recording of it on Collision: Of Worlds, I don’t sing it, and I am still reluctant to use versions of songs I don’t sing.  Thus I had to do a recording in my living room on a digital recorder, with all the same “mistakes” I made when I recorded Still, Small Voice–automatic level control picking up room noise when the song got quiet (which this one does quite a bit), breathing difficulties because I had just gotten out of the hospital.  Add to that that the song was written for three vocals and never performed with fewer than two, and that at the ends of the lines there were always instrumental frills (lead guitar, keyboard, bass, and drums), and it’s a very disappointing rendition of the song.  However, it is a good song.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)

The song was written during the 7dB days, and performed then.  It arose out of musings that I knew I was a teacher but I wasn’t sure how much of my music was teaching.  I had long had this idea in my head, but never as a song, and I decided it could work set to music, so I tackled it.

The idea arose from Jesus’ teaching about cutting off your hand and plucking out your eye if they caused you to sin, which for many years bothered and upset me until I realized that our body parts don’t cause us to sin–it is that inner person that does so.  This was such a relief to me, and ranks high in my list of great realizations.  I thus thought that a song that taught this, that it’s not your body parts of which you must rid yourself but that selfish person inside, would work.

My wife, not seeing it quite as I did, thought the song much too upbeat and happy for the message–that you have to die to yourself–but then, I found the happiness in the fact that I didn’t have to remove body parts.  Mohammed got it wrong, I would say.  Get rid of what really causes you to sin.

As mentioned, we started doing the song with 7dB and continued with CollisionThis recording is none of the above, and I tripped over several words and a few guitar strums, but it does give the flavor of the song.

Heavenly Kingdom.

So here are the words:

If your hand caused you to sin,
Would you cut it off to enter in
To the Heavenly Kingdom?
If your eye caused you to doubt,
To save your soul, would you pluck it out
For the Heavenly Kingdom?
If it’s not your hand and it’s not your eye,
Would you give your life, lie down and die?
Would you let yourself be crucified
For the Heavenly Kingdom?

If your feet caused you to stray,
Would you give them up, or walk away
From the Heavenly Kingdom?
If your tongue caused you to lie,
Would you bite it off–would you even try
For the Heavenly Kingdom?
But your feet don’t stray and your tongue won’t lie;
It’s your selfish self that has to die.
Would you let yourself be crucified
For the Heavenly Kingdom?
For the Heavenly Kingdom?

Would you be crucified with Christ,
Baptized and buried in His death,
Raised up and living in His life,
Breathing Him in with ev’ry breath?

If your heart is filled with strife,
Would you let it die to give you life
In the Heavenly Kingdom?
If your soul is filled with pride,
Would you let yourself be crucified
For the Heavenly Kingdom?
Give up your soul, give up your life,
Give up your pride, give up your strife,
Come and let yourself be crucified
For the Heavenly Kingdom.
For the Heavenly Kingdom.
For the Heavenly Kingdom.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  My Life to You | #366:  The Song “Sometimes”

Next song:  #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy”

#371: The Twenty-Twenty Twenty/Twenty

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #371, on the subject of The Twenty-Twenty Twenty/Twenty.

I believe the correct greeting is Happy New Year, as we enter 2021.  That means it is time for us to look back at everything that we published in 2020.

The big deal is the book, in paperback and Kindle format, Why I Believe, a compilation of evidence on the basis of which intelligent people believe in God and in Jesus Christ.  I’m told the hardcover version is out, joining the paperback and Kindle versions, but haven’t seen it yet.

The year began, appropriately, on January 1st with a look back at the previous year, web log post #325:  The 2019 Recap, doing then what we are doing now, providing a quick look at everything from the previous dozen months.

On the first of the year I also published a song, the first of a dozen continuing from the seven of the previous year:

  1. web log post #326:  The Song “Mountain Mountain”;
  2. web log post #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice”;
  3. web log post #334:  The Song “Convinced”;
  4. web log post #337:  The Song “Selfish Love”;
  5. web log post #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul”;
  6. web log post #341:  The Song “Joined Together”;
  7. web log post #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them”;
  8. web log post #349:  The Song “I Can’t Resist Your Love”;
  9. web log post #353:  The Song “I Use to Think”;
  10. web log post #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good”;
  11. web log post #362:  The Song “My Life to You”; and
  12. web log post #366:  The Song “Sometimes”.

That series continues with another song later today.

On the subject of series, there are several others, including both the Faith in Play and RPG-ology monthly series at the Christian Gamers Guild.  These are both indexed, along with other excellent material from other contributing authors, at 2020 at the Christian Gamers Guild Reviewed, posted yesterday.  Thanks to the editorial staff of the French edition of Places to Go, People to Be, a large collection of the original Game Ideas Unlimited articles, thought to be lost when Gaming Outpost closed, have been recovered and are now appearing slightly repolished in these series.  (Quite a few of them plus other articles have been translated into French for their site.) We also finished posting the rest of the novel Versers Versus Versers, along with updated character sheets in the Multiverser Novel Support Pages, and started on the seventh, Re Verse All, which will continue well into the new year.  There were quite a few behind-the-writings web log posts connected to those, but they are indexed in the novel table of contents pages so we won’t burden this entry with them.

There was also the continuation of another series, reminiscences on the history of Christian contemporary and rock music from the early 1980s, which picked up with:

  1. web log post #329:  CCM Guys at the Beginning, a conglomerate of artists from Randy Matthews and Randy Stonehill through Michael W. Smith;
  2. web log post #332:  The Wish of Scott Wesley Brown;
  3. web log post #335:  Bob Bennett’s First Matters;
  4. web log post #342:  Fireworks Times Five, one of the best rock bands of the era;
  5. web log post #345:  Be Ye Glad, one of the best vocal bands of the era;
  6. web log post #358:  DeGarmo and Key, Not a Country Band, another excellent early rock ensemble.

I should mention for the time travel fans that there is indeed a book in the works, possibly with a sequel, but it’s still in the early stages so that’s on the list for the coming year.  Meanwhile, temporal anomalies were not ignored, as we had several posts and pages.

Among the miscellaneous posts this year is one about the fact that my work appears under several slightly different names–Mark, Mark J., M. Joseph, M. J., and Mark Joseph–and the story behind that is explained in web log post #331:  What’s With the Names?  A musician asked a question on a Facebook group, which I answered in web log post #352:  Why No One Cares About Your Songs.

Giving extra confusion to the year, in February my second grandchild, my first grandson, was born, roughly a decade or so after his half-sister.  That was the beginning of a saga that still is not completely resolved, but it was several months before he came home, in time for Halloween.

My book reading slowed drastically, due largely to the fact that my Kindle was smashed and I’ve been trying to get it repaired, but there are a few book reviews (one of a book on writing) at Goodreads.  Also appearing are two republished book reviews, as web log posts #351:  In re:  Evil Star and #368:  In re:  Cry of the Icemark, recovered from the lost Gaming Outpost archives.

We were quiet on the political front until June, when events related to Black Lives Matter prompted the writing of web log post #344:  Is It O.K. Not to Make a Statement?  Some argued that it was not.  We later explained the mail-in ballot system adopted by our home state in web log post #360:  Voting in 2020 in New Jersey, with a follow-up a couple weeks later in web log post #363:  The 2020 Election in New Jersey.

The year ahead looks promising.  There should be another song posted today, with Faith in Play and RPG-ology articles already queued for publication later this month and well into the year ahead, chapters of the novel Re Verse All with their accompanying behind-the-writings peeks standing by, more CCM history, some time travel movies awaiting my attention, and–well, we’ll have to see what appears.  Meanwhile, this is your opportunity to catch anything you missed or re-read anything you forgot.

I would be remiss if I did not thank those who have supported me through Patreon and PayPal.me, and to invite and encourage others to do so.  The Patreon web log is the first place where all new pages are announced, and the place to go for glimpses of what is to come, and even as little as a dollar a month helps me immensely and gets you that information delivered several times a week.  Thank you.

#366: The Song “Sometimes”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #366, on the subject of The Song “Sometimes”.

This is the nineteenth song on the list; I honestly do not remember when or where I wrote it, other than that it was done on a piano and was an effort to write a descending baseline song that was not the standard VI-V-IV-V of VI but didn’t sound like the classic Chicago song.  I wrote it in Bb minor, but when we did it with Collision I transposed it down half a step because it was much easier to play on a guitar in A minor and not more difficult for the piano part.  This recording is from the album Collision Of Worlds (as pictured, Jonathon Maness on keys, Kyle Baxter guitar, Nick Rhodes on drums, and me covering bass and vocals).  I’ve always been disappointed with the dynamics on the recording, but it’s the best recording I can offer.  (I think there is a good live version when Jonathan Maness and I played together at a retreat Mike Brantley asked us to do a week after Jonathan had left the band, but I was wading through all the concert and rehearsal tapes last year and got derailed at some point, so I don’t know where it is.)

I listed this as my number two song for music and lyrics, and I’m not sure it isn’t becoming number one; it was pulled down by the fact that I was so disappointed with the recording that I placed it at number 31 for performance and recording (although in retrospect it’s really pretty good, and my disappointment might be a bit of an overreaction), and Tristan didn’t include it on his list.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)

Sometimes.

So here are the words:

Sometimes only you and I alone can see
I am not the things that I know that I should be.
Sometimes people ’round about me cannot tell
In myself I’m only fit to be damned to hell.
No, I hide behind this smile upon my face,
Me of all most mis’rable, saving for your grace,
Me of all most mis’rable, saving for your grace.

Given time I’d only waste it all away;
I do not deserve to live even one more day.
Given talent, I would spend it on my pride–
I am such a sinful wretch, yet I choose to hide.
Given power I would work my selfish will.
How can God give life to one only fit to kill?
How can God give life to one only fit to kill?

He calls me by my name;
He tells me, “Child, arise!”
I’ll never be the same:
I have looked into His eyes.

Now I see the one who died upon the cross;
All that I had counted gain there was counted loss.
Now I have no reason, nothing left to hide:
I’m the one deserving death; I’m the one who died.
Now my eyes are clearing–now I start to see,
Ev’rything that Jesus was God is making me,
Ev’rything that Jesus was God is making me.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  My Life to You

Next song:  #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom”

#362: The Song “My Life to You”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #362, on the subject of The Song “My Life to You”.

This is the eighteenth song on the list, written during the 1977-78 school year in the study of our Landmark Lane apartment in Rockport, Massachusetts.  It is one of my youngest son’s favorites (I think he likes songs with angst in them), but he didn’t respond when I invited him to contribute to the selection process.  I listed it twenty-second for the quality of the song itself, eighteenth on the quality of the midi-instrument recording and performance; Tristan had it on his list, tied for ninth, which pulled it up.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)

By the time I wrote this I was making a point of trying to make my songs different from each other.  I thus started this on a Bb major seventh chord, making for a rather difficult song to play on an acoustic guitar.  (Guitars and most stringed instruments prefer sharp keys; flat keys are packed with hard-on-the-fingers bar chords and difficult notes on violins and violas as open strings are eliminated.)  I also went for a mellow jazz flavor.  I intentionally jumped the octave and inserted a transitional chord at the end of the second verse into the first bridge, and then specifically did not do so when the third verse goes into the second bridge, both times to create surprise.  I admit that I stumbled into the extra couplet and the diminished seventh chord on the last verse, pushing the end of the verse up an octave and increasing the build–but this isn’t supposed to be a songwriting instructional, just memories about the song.

As to that, I don’t have many.  We never included it in the repertoire of any band, and because of the bar chords I don’t often do it in solo appearances.  I remember struggling with the lyrics in the second bridge–I wanted it to say that if I asked Him to change my days to bring joy He would change my ways, but I couldn’t get that and had to say the reverse.

This midi-instrument recording is the one on which I based my decisions.  When I was trying to find a copy to upload I stumbled on this live recording from a late December 2014 Sunday morning appearance at the Silverlake Community Church using a borrowed acoustic guitar, complete with introductory comments.

My Life to You.

So here are the words:

When I was young I went to Sunday School,
And there I learned about the Golden Rule:
Do what you want men to do to you;
But I found that too hard to do,
So I thought I would write my own:
Now I do what I don’t condone.
It seems that I am rotten through and through.
Someday I’ve got to give my life to You.

Now I’ve grown, and I am wise indeed:
I know love is what we really need.
Love will bring us to a peaceful state,
But my own life is full of hate.
I am striving to work my will.
Love means serving, I know, but still
I keep on doing what I want to do.
Someday I’ve got to give my life to You.

I just can’t seem to see, or understand,
No matter how hard I try,
If I make You my king, you’ve wonders planned.
That’s why You came to die.

Then when finally I saw my sin,
I tried to change me from the outside in.
I tried to go ways I couldn’t go;
I tried to show love I didn’t know.
Now I’m learning beyond a doubt:
Man must change from the inside out,
And that’s what You say You want to do.
Someday I’ve got to give my life to you.

If I would say to You, rearrange my ways,
And make You my sovereign king,
Then this is what You’d do, You would change my days,
And oh, what joy you’d bring.

Will I say with my dying breath,
“Give me freedom, or give me death”?
Will I keep on ignoring you,
Doing just what I want to do?
Will I keep going my own way?
When I’m dying, what will I say?
I’ve been dying for many years;
I’ve been crying, You’ve seen my tears.
Jesus, You make all things new;
Someday I’ve got to give my life to you.

Someday I’ve got to give my life to you.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good”

Next song: #366:  The Song “Sometimes”