Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hunger Games and Catching Fire



I see no real answers. The characters are faced with the same questions that constantly plague the minds and thoughts of teens today. Similar feelings and emotions. That is where the connections lies. And yet it is a false connection, a shallow one because no real hope is offered. There is never any true rest. Just when you think a bad situation has been redeemed, that a young girl’s heart has been taught the themes of love and community all is dashed and life proves once again that grown ups are just manipulative and self-serving no matter which side their on.

I think my greatest sadness is that students no longer have models of how to act rightly as adults through their modern literature. That is one of the greatest endowments fairy tales have bestowed upon generations of children. They showed in beauty, truth, and chivalry the way to conduct yourself with maturity. Not in disregard of the playfulness of childhood, but embracing it as the foundation for the later years. The problem with every modern youth fiction book having a youth as its hero or heroine is that it doesn’t prepare kids for what comes after youth. Let me re-phrase that because I feel as though I’ve seen/heard the term “help prepare kids” in terms of preparing them for the grim and gory facts of the world, specifically as an argument for including certain facts, scenes, or scenarios into stories that probably could be left out. Back to youths as heroes, the primary problem I see is that it gives kids nothing to aspire to beyond childhood. As teachers, we often talk about setting the bar high so our kids will reach and be stretched. This is not an argument for all modern youth fiction to have adult heroes, instead, it’s a call to set the bar a little higher.

When we don’t know how to be adults, forty year-old office execs act like frat boys on the weekends, and Snooky leads our children through Never Never Land.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Am a Descendant...

I remember a playful delight over the idea of school. I remember youthful excitement and enthusiasm over learning. I remember thoughts, mullings really, wondering if there was more for me than the blind compliance hiding a quiet rebellion and masked by a fa├žade of happiness worn by the elder peers I looked up to. I remember a dramatic move away from all I’d ever known around the age of twelve. I remember the unknown turmoil in being faced with the possibility of being fatherless. I remember hope. Hope in a renewed youthful excitement and enthusiasm over learning. I remember the day when I realized that it wasn’t so much the lessons I took such great delight in as the teachers who delivered them.

There is no comparing my story to that of Jan Amos Comenius. There is a certain thread in the thoughts and remembrances listed above that runs throughout his story as well. If I were desperate, I could pull out old nicknames and remind you that I once was called Amos in my younger days. If I were to point that out, I would of course fail to mention that it had nothing to do with the fact that I was “loving” as it did in Comenius’ case, but rather by the fact that I knew that Amos was a book in the Old Testament when no other of my peers did, and I never failed to remind them of my superior knowledge. Or, on another point of feigned comparison, I could recollect the fact that my paternal grandfather’s side of the family has deep Moravian roots stemming back to the founding of Old Salem in North Carolina. But if I were to point that out, I would of course fail to mention the fact that while my grandfather does have Moravian roots, the only real connection he has that I have found thus far with Old Salem—apart from living there—I fictitiously made up after reading the back of a Moravian Sugar Cake loaf giving a brief history of the Moravians settlement in Salem.

Let’s face it. My feeble attempt to connect my lineage to that of Jan Amos Comenius has thus far rivaled every Confederate-loving Southern American’s claim to be a direct descendant of William Wallace. And yet I continue my search along the genealogical and footnote trail knowing that one day I will be bettered by the search even to simply call Comenius a spiritual and educational ancestor.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

S4theD: Day 40



It's been a joy to journey back through some old musical haunts, share some current appreciations, and even gather some new tunes along the way. Thank you for joining me over the last 40 days of musical reflection.

I leave you with one last song in anticipation of tomorrow and in light of our redemptive standing secured by a Merciful Substitute.

Blessings to you and yours this resurrection weekend.


So Shall We Live
Saviour: The Story of God's Passion for His People
sung by: Steve Green, Larnelle Harris, Wayne Watson, Twila Paris, and Wintley Phipps


Light of the world with hope fills the sky
For gone is the power of the darkness
The tomb that held the Son of God
Breaks with a cry from heaven
"He who was dead is risen!
Up from the grave ascended!
The reign of death is ended!

"So shall we live, for His cross has gone before
Christ has spoken all our freedom
He's broken all our bondage
And opened God's heavens to man

O, saints rejoice and lift up your voice
For we bear the wounds of our Saviour
And just as Christ was crucified
We who are buried with Him
Are raised in newness with Him
We share His resurrection
Our blessed liberation

So shall we live, for His cross has gone before
Christ has spoken all our freedom
He's broken all our bondage
And opened God's heavens
He's opened God's heavens to man

So shall we live, and so shall we reign
In glory and power
Now and forever

So shall we live
Blessed is the name of the Lord
So shall we live
Blessed is the name of the Lord
AMEN

Friday, April 22, 2011

S4theD: Day 39



A year ago today my grandfather passed away. Dying Christians often have profound insights just before they pass from earth to heaven. Johnny Cash sure did. I think my grandfather would have liked this last Johnny Cash album which he put together before his own home-going...well...if we didn't tell my grandfather it was Johnny Cash I think he might have liked it!

Much to remember, much to ponder...but today really is a Good Friday.

Ain't No Grave
by Johnny Cash


There ain't no grave can hold my body down
There ain't no grave can hold my body down
When I hear that trumpet sound I'm gonna rise right out of the ground
Ain't no grave can hold my body down

Well, look way down the river, what do you think I see?
I see a band of angels and they're coming after me
Ain't no grave can hold my body down
There ain't no grave can hold my body down

Well, look down yonder Gabriel, put your feet on the land and see
But Gabriel don't you blow your trumpet 'til you hear it from me
There ain't no grave can hold my body down
Ain't no grave can hold my body down

Well, meet me Jesus, meet me. Meet me in the middle of the air
And if these wings don't fail me I will meet you anywhere
Ain't no grave can hold my body down
There ain't no grave can hold my body down

Well, meet me mother and father, meet me down the river road
And momma you know that I'll be there when I check in my load
Ain't no grave can hold my body down
There ain't no grave can hold my body down
There ain't no grave can hold my body down

Thursday, April 21, 2011

S4theD: Day 38



Jerusalem, My Happy Home
by James Jordan & The Voices of Anam Cara


Jerusalem, my happy home,
When shall I come to thee?
When shall my troubles have an end?
Thy joys when shall I see?

There David stands with harp in hand
As master of the choir:
Ten thousand times that man were blessed
That might this music hear.

There Mary sings Magnificat
With tune surpassing sweet,
And all the holy bear their part,
There sitting at her feet.

There Magdalen hath left her moan,
And cheerfully doth sing
With blessed saints, whose harmony
In every street doth ring.

Jerusalem, my happy home
God grant that I may see
Thine endless joy, and of the same
A true partaker be!
A true partaker be!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

S4theD: Day 37

It's pouring down rain...again...the splish splash seems appropriate.

Splish Splash
by Little Richard


Splish Splash I was takin a bath
Long about a Saturday night
Rub Dub just relaxin in the tub
Thinkin everything was alright
Well I stepped outa the tub
Put my feet on the floor
I wrapped the towel around me
And I opened the door
And then a splish splash
I jumped back in the bath
Well how was I to know there was a party goin on!

They was a splishin and a splashin
Reelin with the feelin
Movin and a groovin
Rockin and a rollin
Hey yeah!

Bing Bang I saw the whole gang
Dancin on my living room rug
Yeah, flip flop they was doin the Bop
All the teens had the dancin bug
There was Lolipop with Peggy Sue
By Golly Miss Molly was even there too
Well a splish splash I forgot about the bath
I went and put my dancin shoes on, yeah!

I was a rollin and a strollin
Reelin with the feelin
Movin and a groovin
Splishin and a splashin
Yeah!

Yeah, I was a splishin and a splashin
I was a rollin and a strollin
Yeah, I was a movin and a groovin
We was a reelin with the feelin
I was a rollin and a strollin
Movin with the groovin
Splish Splash, Yeah
Splishin and a splashin
One time, I was a splishin and a splashin
I was a movin and a groovin
Yeah, I was a splishin and a splashin

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

S4theD: Day 36



Ok, before you judge (I promise I'll let you once you hear me out!) I have to tell y'all why I liked this song in high school. Really I only have two reasons: 1) I thought it was pretty cool that Scott Stapp wrote this song after he found out he was going to be a father. I never thought of it as sappy, so I liked it. Nothing like Butterfly Kisses which I absolutely HATED! And 2) In 1999, Creed was one of the first bands to introduce classical instruments into pop rock. I was hooked the moment I heard this hidden track on their album Human Clay. Their blending of cello and violin with bass and electric guitar left me with a passion that only Apocalyptica, Mannheim Steamroller, Trans Siberian Orchestra and the like have been able to slightly remedy.

Ok, now you may judge.

With Arms Wide Open (Bonus Track)
by Creed


Well I just heard the news today
It seems my life is going to change
I close my eyes, begin to pray
Then tears of joy stream down my face

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open

Well I don't know if I'm ready
To be the man I have to be
I'll take a breath, I'll take her by my side
We stand in awe, we've created life

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything

With arms wide open
With arms wide open
I'll show you everything ...oh yeah
With arms wide open..wide open

If I had just one wish
Only one demand
I hope he's not like me
I hope he understands
That he can take this life
And hold it by the hand
And he can greet the world
With arms wide open...

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open

I'll show you everything..oh yeah
With arms wide open....wide open

Monday, April 18, 2011

S4theD: Day 35

Oh the irony. This was one of my favorite songs in high school. When I was tired of homework, mad at a teacher (yes, that happened on occasion), or desperately longing for spring or summer break I'd find myself singing along with and impersonating the wee British lads in their protest against education.

And now I'm a teacher. I wonder what song my kids sing when they're tired of homework, mad at me, or desperately longing for break?


Another Brick In the Wall, Part 2
by Pink Floyd


We don't need no education
We dont need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

We don't need no education
We dont need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave those kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave those kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

"Wrong, Do it again!"
"If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you
have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?"
"You! Yes, you behind the bikesheds, stand still laddy!"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

S4theD: Day 34



Now this is a great extended metaphor! Maybe not as pop and memorable as Tom Cochrane's Life Is a Highway, but pretty darn intriguing nonetheless. I do love me a good painted word picture!


Green Screens
by Sleeping at Last


If only worry could make it change,
Suddenly our world would take new shape;
On miles and miles of green screens
Love hangs on invisible strings.

So roll up your sleeves,
This could take some time.
Everything waits on assembly lines - but not here.
In the emergence of plan,
We'll be surrounded by hands.

The storyboard outlines our escape
And second guesses will be erased;
On the cutting room floor
Everything falls into place.

If only our futures could be tamed,
Suddenly our past would have no say.
And in the emergence of film, pouring overhead,
Our bodies relearn how to feel.
And somehow the screen embodies every ideal
As the orchestra so sweetly reveals,
And the background artist carries us there...
The conflict compliments repair.

We're all on the edge of our seats,
We're all on the edge of our seats
Until the end.

Friday, April 15, 2011

S4theD: Day 33



The Norwegians have done a pretty good job covering one of the most covered cover songs ever. I stumbled across this version by Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Kurt Nilsen & Alejandro Fuentes which has made me curious as to what these guys have done individually. Apparently they're super famous...in Norway. I think Kurt Nilsen has done a couple things with Willie Nelson. Any one ever heard of any of these guys?


Hallelujah
by Lind, Holm, Nilsen, & Fuentes


I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's was going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
Remember when I moved in with you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah