And we’re back

And we’re back April 12, 2008

Check, check … is this thing on?

OK, then. Comcast seems to have me all set up here in my new digs. They’re quite accommodating if you ask politely and say the magic word (not “please” — “Verizon”). So we now resume our irregularly scheduled blogging.

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Thank you Trevor et. al. for sticking up for Rich Mullins in comments. Mullins did write the unfortunate worship anthem “Awesome God,” but he also wrote quite a bit of music that doesn’t make me want to run screaming from church.

Mullins died in a car crash in 1997. There’s a nice obituary here which gives a bit of background on the man who, when not playing music, taught it to elementary school children in a Navajo reservation in Arizona.

I’m quite fond of his final recording project, The Jesus Record, recorded with the excellent Ragamuffin Band. Had the songs from that album — songs like “Man of No Reputation” or “Hard to Get” — become as ubiquitous as “Awesome God,” then our megachurches might be very different places.

I actually met Mullins once, in 1994, in a bar in Macomb, Ill. The summer of ’94 was a Very Bad Time for me, but my old partner in crime, Dwight Ozard, thought that hanging out with that band of Ragamuffins would do me some good. As usual, he was right. I never met any of them again until a few years ago, when one of the Ragamuffins came to town to sing “Man of No Reputation” at Dwight’s funeral.

Anyway, in Mullin’s defense, here’s his song “Hard to Get.”

– – –

Re: Hawker’s Christian Music Story — a post from the archives: “Teetotalist gift shops.”

I used to enjoy calling area “Christian Bookstores” to ask for things like Donne’s Holy Sonnets or The Brothers Karamazov. It was smart-alecky fun, and the point was a legitimate one, but I quickly realized that the poor souls on the other end of the phone were, themselves, the victims of the very thing I was trying to criticize.

The Christian-brand bookstores and publishing houses could easily follow Barnes & Noble’s lead by producing and marketing affordable editions of older classics now in the public domain. My guess is that the reason they haven’t done so, at least not on a similar scale, is that they’ve already calculated the potential sales from the shelf space of such a collection of books and determined that it couldn’t compete with the sales they’re already getting from the Precious Moments and other Jesus Junk now occupying that space. The flip-side of that blame-the-consumer argument, of course, is to note that they may be getting the chicken-or-egg of it backwards.

– – –

Is it accurate to say that a Navajo reservation is “in” Arizona? I mean, technically (if only technically, since our history with all such treaties is that they’re honored only to the point of inconvenience) … technically it’s sovereign territory and thus not really a part of Arizona. I mean, if you want to go there, you have to go to Arizona, but once you’re there, you’re not really “in” Arizona anymore, right?

So maybe it’s accurate to say the Navajo reservation is in Arizona geographically speaking, but not politically speaking? Anyone have any expert insight on this?

– – –

P.S.: I haven’t yet figured out how to turn off Typepad’s annoying new comments-per-page limit, but I was able to switch it from the extremely irksome 25 to the slightly less irksome 50 setting. Feh. If anyone has a script to work around this new feature, please let me know.

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