27 November 2007

My lovely wife Debra was kind enough to pass on to me an interesting article she found:

Todd Friel on Hugging Jesus

Kind of one of those articles I don't want to resoundingly agree with publicly, because of the potential backlash of Jesus Boyfriends and Girlfriends out there that dig those kind of songs, but definitely worth a read. While I've been interminably frustrated with the ├╝ber-lame "Jesus is my boyfriend" style of music, I'd never before considered that one of the reasons these songs are so lame is a fault of the English language. Because we have one predominant word for love, which in Greek and other languages can be translated in different ways, we end up lumping shallow, feel-good emotional love, romantic eros love, and agape charity-love all into one devil of a four letter word. It is an interesting point he makes.

It is a bit ironic when you consider what is viewed as the "secularization of Christian music". Commonly this refers to adopting the sounds, styles, instruments, and techniques of secular popular music, with guitars, electric instruments, drums, "avant garde" compositions and the like, but to me the far more relevant side is the secularization of lyrics. While still under the pretense of being "Christian", we've basically taken the lyrics of classic love songs and interspersed them with "Jesus" and "King" and wallah, Christian music.

"Wallah" is one of the better words in this world. I'm not sure if I found the correct source for its etymology, but here is a possibility:


I was listening to Rubber Soul by the Fabbissimo Quattro today and I heard the following line delivered by Lennon on the song "The Word"..."now that I know what I feel must be right, I'm here to show everybody the Light!" All too often that is what we run into, in political ideology, religious discussions, debates on terminal ballistics of handgun ammunition (ha!), whatever. Somebody feels something they assume to be right, and then they have to take that Gospel to everyone else. If only we could depend a little less on feeling, and more on more substantive measures, perhaps our differences wouldn't be debated with such rancor. Sing it, John...

"It's SO fine, it's SUNshine, it's the WORD! LOVE!"


Matt said...

Love it. I agree completely.

Care to comment on Boulevard's new beers? I knew about them long before most people thanks to you, Mr. Neufeld.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Absolutely! I'm culling the below comments from a post on a brewer forum...

Being a local, I was always frustrated that Boulevard never seemed to push the envelope a little...always brewing good, but safe, craft beer.

Their new "Smokestack series" is a set of four (at least now) beers, in 750ml bottles, corked and caged.

"Doublewide IPA" - A very tasty and serviceable double IPA. This might be a standard IPA given the standards of some, but its a good midrange DIPA.

"Long Strange Tripel" - A well balanced tripel style, I don't recall this one standing out, but I mean that in a good way, it was balanced and had no off flavours, to me, and just tasted the way a tripel should. Miles ahead of New Belgiums tripel.

"The Sixth Glass" - a quadrupel style at 10.5 percent, this was surprisingly my least favourite, but it could have been that I just wasn't in the mood for a chewy sweet dark beer. For some reason it reminded me of an extract wee heavy I brewed when first getting started...sweet, alcoholic, cloudy, brown, and some of the same flavours, although it definitely was unmistakably Belgian.

"Saison" - Unfortunately I haven't had a lot of true saisons, so I have little to compare it with. Suffice to say it is a well-hopped golden Belgian ale, and while there is a decent of hop aroma, it is mostly bitterness, and flavour, leading me to believe they used more early hop additions than late ones. Kind of like a less aromatic, lower ABV tripel IPA. Very tasty, regardless! I had it with some peppered smoked salmon and smoked gouda, very nice pairing.

I would rate them as DIPA first, in that, honestly, its my favorite style of the bunch, with a second place tie between the tripel and saison (both excellent!), and the quadrupel bringing up the rear as an OK, but not particularly beloved brew.

BTW, you get the invite for next Friday? Not sure if I have the right address.

Matt said...

I dinnae get it. I suppose you sent it to my UMKC email, which has been disabled now. You can reach me now at matthewallenscott[at]gmail[dot]com.

So what's Friday?

Matt said...

Oh, and strange how subjective this all is...I loved the Sixth Glass. Possibly one of my favorite beers ever. It have me a mental image of going down a slide, starting with one set of flavors and transforming on the palate into a different aftertaste.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

I agree, enormously subjective. I also think my stomach was ill at ease that night, and for some reason the heavy beer just reminded me of one of my early homebrew experiments gone awry. It was definitely interesting, and sampled another day I might do a complete about face on it.

Will resend the aforementioned invite post haste.

Mike K said...

My 2 cents on one comment you made ... I don't believe there is or has ever been such a thing as the secularization of music (stylistically at least). This is because there is no such thing as 'spiritual' music. What we consider 'church' music (hymns) was not considered as a 'spiritual' style 100-150 years ago. In fact a few of Isaac Watts' songs were lyrics he wrote and put to well known drinking songs of the day. He did this so that the congregation could sing along to a known melody but with Biblical words.

The idea of 'spiritual' music (notes and rhythms, not words) really stems at least in the Western world from Catholic Gregorian chant. Music is in virtually all ways neutral as many other things we spiritualize. It is the message over the music that we should scrutinize. That said, of course certain types of music culturally have different insinuated overtones... i.e. Death Metal to me means anger and unhappiness... i couldn't personally worship God in that style... but that isn't to say that someone else couldn't. Double negative intended.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...


I absolutely agree. I may have worded the initial post confusingly; my reference to the secularization of music regarding instrumentation and the like was just an acknowledgement of a widely accepted (but in our viewpoints incorrect) notion that style and instrumentation are what "secularizes" sacred music. My point was that all those things are irrelevant and simply circumstantial (we live in the 21st century and use the musical equipment popular in the 21st century, just like David used the harp and other musical equipment popular in his day), but where we really are "secularizing" sacred music is in the words, not the sounds.

And I agree on death metal. While I'll readily admit maybe others can "get their praise on" to that sort of music, I'm not sure I'd be capable of that.

BTW, I found a lot of old KCBT band bootlegs on my hard drive while cleaning it up for a BF1942 mod I didn't have space for...I'll have to do some more charting of those out, as there are some good ones I forgot.

Mike K said...

Ah yes... also I believe the word you are looking for is "VOILA"


The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Yes, you are right. Bugger! Somehow all these years I thought they were independent expressions. I do feel somewhat vindicated by the fact that "voila" is sometimes pronounced "wallah", sans the "v" sound.