Around Town: Great local music and books, Rikk Watts, Silence . . .

Ordinary Time released this seasonal album at the beginning of December.

Ordinary Time released this seasonal album at the beginning of December.

This will be my final weekly update for 2016 (Merry Christmas!), and I find myself feeling a little bit guilty for having neglected to keep up with some of the new music and books that have come along this year.

I will mention a few that have come particularly to my attention. I apologize to those I have missed, or given short shrift. I am always impressed by the creativity and industry of our local musicians and writers.

First some musical offerings, then a few books.

Ordinary Time: Good News

Just a couple of weeks ago, Ordinary Time played several local concerts, celebrating their 10th anniversary and introducing their brand new album. Good News covers the full Advent/Christmas season, with songs from ‘Zechariah’s Song’ and ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’ through to ‘O Come All Ye Faithful,’ ‘Flight to Egypt’ and ‘All Shall Be Well.’

The members of Ordinary Time  – Peter La Grand, Jill McFadden and Ben Keyes – describe themselves in this way:

They met in a History of Christian Worship class at Regent College, where they discovered a shared love for old songs in danger of being forgotten. The band’s oeuvre seamlessly weaves the hymns of generations past with their own new songs – often indistinguishably – producing a sound that ranges from bluegrass-tinged Americana to sacred harp hymn arrangements.

Go here to listen to Good News and Ordinary Time’s four earlier albums.

Mixed Multitude Music: There is a Light

mixedmultitudethereisalight1Peter La Grand must have a lot of energy. Besides his work with Ordinary Time and pastoring with Artisan Church, he was executive producer of There is a Light, by Mixed Multitude Music.

Here is how they describe what they are doing:

There is a Light was written and recorded by the first collection of MMM musicians: Brian Chan, Dan Klenner (Hey Ocean, Star Captains), Danielle McTaggart (Dear Rouge), Drew McTaggart (Dear Rouge), Jordan Klassen (Jordan Klassen), Peter La Grand (Ordinary Time) and Scott McTaggart.

The volume is made up of seven songs primarily inspired by psalms.

The name of the collective comes from Exodus 12:38. In that passage, after the Israelites have been led out of Egypt by God, the text reads: “A mixed multitude also went up with them.” Here, early in the biblical narrative, we see . . . those outside of the chosen tribe included in God’s liberating action. God’s saving action in the world . . . is for all people.

La Grand added, in an email:

We hope that Mixed Multitude will include many more people. This is the first volume and the first case of collaborators, and we will see where the future takes us. For now, though, I would say that we are a group of people aiming to glorify God; many pursue music professionally and attend Artisan Church.
 
All the members are Christian and musicians, but most are Christian musicians who do not play worship explicit music in their careers as musicians (though they pursue their craft as worship of God). There was a desire in the group to come together to work on something larger than any one member’s career, to put God first and to collaborate to make excellent, Christian, music.

I very much enjoy There is a Light, which is at once modern and steeped in tradition. (Like a number of other younger groups, they focus on the liturgical year. MMM first alerted supporters to the album at Eastertide and released it at Pentecost, ie June. La Grand’s other group is named after the liturgical period of Ordinary Time.) My daughter-in-law, a worship leader, particularly liked ‘One God’ and introduced it to our church.

Mixed Multitude Media recently added an Advent song, Angels We Have Heard.

c2creviveusagain1C2C Music: Revive Us Again

Early this year, C2C Network released Revive Us Again, featuring songs by Pat, Josh and Joel Sczebel.

They said, “It is our prayer that through this album, Revive Us Again, . . . God would draw people to Himself both in the church and outside the church. The album is a prayer to the Lord, to heal our nation and bring us back to Him.”

C2C Network is a catalyst for church planting and multiplication across Canada.

Books

quranincontextfrontI did manage to take note of some good books in Church for Vancouver this year (click on the book name):

* Mark Anderson: The Qur’an in Context

* Craig Greenfield: Subversive Jesus

* Gord Carkner: The Great Escape from Nihilism

* Bill Reimer: Revisiting ‘Toronto the Good’

* Ross Lockhart: Lessons from Laodicea

* Paul Stevens: Aging Matters

There have been, of course, quite a few others:

* Giulio Gabeli: Grafted In

graftedin1Giulio Gabeli is pastor, with his wife Lina, at Westwood Community Church in Coquitlam and has taken a leading role in both Voices Together and the upcoming Festival of Hope.

Following is the publisher’s description of Grafted In:

The landscape of the global church has changed significantly in the 21st century as many are newly awakened to the revelation of the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. Many church leaders are calling for a return to a church model that is authentic, accurate and accentuated by the Jewishness of the early church.

However, ignorance and misunderstanding has caused the pendulum to swing to extremes, and abuse has caused sincere seekers to unintentionally create offence and misunderstanding, bringing reproach to the church.

Written to inform and engage well-meaning Gentile believers in a mature and balanced way, Gabeli addresses the questions being asked in the global church today regarding the practice and implementation of Christianity’s Jewish roots:

– How will the celebration of the feasts enrich our lives, families and churches? How can we celebrate them in a significant way?
– What should be the relationship between the church and geopolitical Israel?
– How do we avoid becoming extreme and off-balance in the implementation of the Hebraic roots in the context of Gentile believers?

Grafted In presents a balanced, viable and biblically significant Judeo-Christian model for personal and public worship.

Aside from his local roles, Gabeli is national director of the Canada Celebrates Israel Network and the Canadian liaison of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus.

* Ron Dart: The North American High Tory Tradition

rondarthightorytradition1Ron Dart has taught in the Department of Political Science, Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley since 1990. 

The publisher has this to say about The North American High Tory Tradition:

A significant struggle began in the year 1776 over the fate of a continent, and there are those who believe that this struggle ended in the year 1783, with the ancient ways of the Old World being given over entirely to those of a New.

Is it true, however, that the end of what has been called ‘The First American Civil War’ saw the complete victory of the republican way, and the banishment of the older Tory tradition from these shores?

The North American High Tory Tradition tells another story, one in which a different vision for life in North America emerges from the cold of the True North where its flame has been kept burning until the present day.

George Grant (1918 – 1988), the most influential High Tory intellectual of the 20th century, warned us in his Lament for a Nation of the collision course which lies ahead for these two different ‘North Americas’ – that embodied in the Dominion of the North, and that in the Republic to its South.

Is the disappearance of the Tory alternative an inevitable fate to our future as ‘North Americans’? In The North American High Tory Tradition Ron Dart shines light upon the classical lineage, deep wisdom and enduring nature of the High Tory tradition as it has been planted and grown in the soil of North America, and in doing so reveals how Canada may serve as a north star to lead North Americans to a different destiny than that planned for them by a certain few in 1776.

Ron Dart is a leading authority on the North American High-Red Tory religio-political tradition. He has published more than 30 books, including four others just this year!: White Gulls and Wild Birds: Essays on C.S. Lewis, Inklings and Friends & Thomas Merton; C.S. Lewis and Bede Griffiths: Chief Companions, Thomas Merton and the Counterculture: A Golden String and Canadian Christian Zionism: A Tangled Tale.

* April Yamasaki: Christ is for Us

christ-is-for-us1Next week, April Yamasaki (lead pastor of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford) will have her ninth book published. Subtitled ‘Lenten Study Based on the Revised Common Lectionary,’ Christ is for Us “invites readers to explore God’s saving and redeeming love through a seven-week study of the scripture readings for Lent and Easter.”

* More Regent College professors

Regent College is the source of a never-ending stream of books. Go here for an article on Ross Hastings: Where Do Broken Hearts Go? And here for brief comments on Iain Provan: Discovering Genesis; Hans Boersma: Sacramental Preaching; and Gordon Smith: Consider Your Calling.

We’ll miss Rikk Watts

Rikk Watts is leaving Regent College to return to Australia.

Rikk Watts is leaving Regent College to return to Australia.

Our loss is Australia’s gain – and that situation is ameliorated only slightly by the recognition that Rikk and Katie Watts are returning home. Our family will miss them – and so will many others, I’m certain.

Rikk has taught at Regent College for about 20 years, while Katie has taught at Pacific Academy in Surrey. We were fortunate to have had them attend our church for years.

Several years ago, Rikk and Katie decided to move on to Living Waters Church in Langley, closer to their home – but also to Rikk’s theological roots. If I remember correctly, he grew up in a rather modest and pious Pentecostal home in Australia.

Fortunately for all of us, he has retained that simple, passionate faith, even through his years of training in engineering and theology (Gordon-Conwell, Cambridge) and his teaching career at Regent.

On the one hand, he is a world renowned theologian (chair of the Mark group for the Society of Biblical Literature at one time, for example). On the other, he has spent most of his time with young people as they navigate living their faith credibly in our complex secular environment. And he hasn’t been afraid to acknowledge his roots. I remember chatting with him after church one day, when he said he was heading off to get his brain waves tested (scientifically) while he spoke in tongues.

It’s good to see Rikk going full circle, in a sense, as he moves on to Alphacrucis College – originally formed as the training college for the Assemblies of God (ie, Pentecostals) – in Sydney, as its leaders follow their vision of creating a Christian university.

Rikk is probably best known around the city – outside of his Regent College role – for the Sunday evening Rock Garden lectures/discussions he led at our church (New Life Community Church). Millennials around the city remember Rikk very fondly for those years. He made a tremendous difference in many young lives, including those of our own children.

Prayer for Rikk and Katie Watts as they leave Regent College. Photo: Regent College Facebook page.

Prayer for Rikk and Katie Watts as they leave Regent College. Photo: Regent College Facebook page.

Rikk spoke at Regent College’s Chapel for the last time December 6. In The Things that Matter Most podcast, he said how grateful he is for the opportunity Regent has afforded those who study there to think hard without having to apologize for one’s “deep love and passion for Jesus.” He added the following admonition:

It would be a terrible tragedy if, when leaving Regent, we find ourselves knowing so much about so many things, but not really knowing [Jesus] – and that is a possibility, actually, it can happen. It’s Jesus whom Paul preaches, not a theological idea, not a statement of faith, not a creed, not some other agenda – as well and as good as all those things might be. I’m not diminishing them, but they really only find their place when they’re centred around the person of Jesus. . . .

Later he shifted from admonition to encouragement:

. . . in our environment . . . that place where deep speaks to deep can get marginalized. . . . and I would hope that never happens. Remain open to the Spirit. No, that’s not enough. If you were open to being married, you’d never get married. Don’t be open to the Spirit. Pursue him, pursue him. Jesus died that you might have that gift. . . .

And that would be my final prayer as I pray for all of you in my heart, that God would fill you abundantly and overwhelmingly with his Holy Spirit. Whatever you do, do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. He gives good news.

Rikk was speaking to young (and not so young) scholars, but his words have always been directed to those of us in the pews as well. Thank you Rikk and Katie, for the blessing you have been to the whole Christian community in Vancouver – and blessings on your new life in Australia.

Silence
Martin Scorsese has been planning to bring Shusaku Endo’s Silence to the screen for a couple of decades – and it will finally happen later this month.
 
The film Silence tells the story of Jesuit missionaries and their followers as they faced tremendous persecution in 17th century Japan.
 
Reviews thus far have been good. As of December 14, all 20 Rotten Tomatoes reviews were positive, some very much so. One of those reviewers – Peter Debruge in Variety – nuanced his views in this way:
 
[J]udged in broadly cinematic terms, “Silence” is not a great movie, despite having been directed by one of the medium’s greatest masters at a point of great maturity . . .
 
Still, viewed through the narrow prism of films about faith, Silence is a remarkable achievement, tackling as it does a number of Big Questions in a medium that, owing to its commercial nature, so often shies away from Christianity altogether.
 
Considering the dominant role religious belief plays in the lives of so many, it’s surprising, even scandalous, that so few films face the subject head-on. Silence is the largest, most serious-minded examination of faith since Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, rounding out a trilogy on the subject from the director of Kundun and The Last Temptation of Christ.
 
Earlier this year, my wife (who grew up in Japan in a missionary family) wrote this insightful article: Silence: Wrestling with the experience of apostasy.
 

December 15, 2016

Friedrich Peter: A Savior Has Been Born to You – December 15, 2016 - December 21, 2016 at All Day
Love Has Come: A Christmas Musical – December 15, 2016 - December 19, 2016 at All Day
Timberline Country Christmas – December 15, 2016 - December 20, 2016 at 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Prayer Service in the Face of Racism – December 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Holy Mo!: A Christmas Show! – December 15, 2016 - December 31, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 16, 2016

Christmas / Chor Leoni – December 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Hi5s Christmas Dinner and Mixer – December 16, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Christmas Tales with Justyn Rees & Russ Rosen – December 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Musica Intima: Joy to the World! – December 16, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Christmas / Chor Leoni – December 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Vancouver Chamber Choir: The Christmas Story – December 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 17, 2016

Surviving the Holidays: GriefShare Seminar – December 17, 2016 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Cantata Singers Concert – December 17, 2016 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Cross Procession in the Face of Racism – December 17, 2016 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Sing-a-Long Messiah – December 17, 2016 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Christmas / Chor Leoni – December 17, 2016 at 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Home for Christmas – December 17, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Marcus Mosely Chorale: Peace on Earth, with Russ Rosen & Justyn Rees – December 17, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Christmas / Chor Leoni – December 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 18, 2016

Home for Christmas – December 18, 2016 at 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Festive Cantatas: J.S. Bach Magnificat – December 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols – December 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The Marcus Mosely Chorale: Peace on Earth, with Justyn Rees & Russ Rosen – December 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
A Child's Christmas in Wales – December 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Old Time Family Christmas – December 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Christmas / Chor Leoni – December 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Then Came the Light: A Christmas Concert – December 18, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

December 19, 2016

Christmas Presence – December 19, 2016 - December 20, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 21, 2016

Songs, Strings and Steps Presents Christmas Stories – December 21, 2016 at 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: We Three Queens – December 21, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Memorial Service for Victims of Coptic Cathedral Bombing – December 21, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

December 23, 2016

Christmas Eve Eve: Carols in the City – December 23, 2016 at 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

December 24, 2016

Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir: Gospel for the City – December 24, 2016 at 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: We Three Queens – December 24, 2016 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

December 25, 2016

Christmas and Hanukkah Concert – December 25, 2016 at 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
Jazz Vespers: Christmas Jam – December 25, 2016 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

December 27, 2016

Canada Chinese Chritian Winter Conference – December 27, 2016 - December 31, 2016 at All Day
Hanukkah Concert with Sergeui Popov – December 27, 2016 at 6:00 pm - 9:15 pm

December 28, 2016

New Years Camp at Pioneer Pacific Camp – December 28, 2016 - January 1, 2017 at All Day

January 1, 2017

Jazz Vespers: Maria Ho – January 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

January 8, 2017

Jazz Vespers: Don Stewart – January 8, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

January 10, 2017

Surrey Aglow Luncheon – January 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

January 11, 2017

BC Jesuit Scotch Tasting Reception – January 11, 2017 at 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Dan Reynolds Trio – January 11, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

January 12, 2017

Making Peace with Creation: Pastors and Church Leaders Seminar – January 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Imago Mundi Poetry Reading: Loren Wilkinson – January 12, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Provincial Election Accountability Assembly – January 12, 2017 at 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Film Screening: Making Peace with Creation – January 12, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

January 13, 2017

Chapel UBC – January 13, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Eighth Annual Improv Comedy Benefit – January 13, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

January 14, 2017

M2/W2 Association: New Volunteer Training – January 14, 2017 at 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

January 15, 2017

Willingdon School of the Bible: Registration Deadline for Winter Term 2017 – January 15, 2017 at All Day
Jazz Vespers: Karen Graves – January 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Linda Szentes and Jazzlinks – January 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

January 16, 2017

The Person, the Pastor & the Psychiatrist – January 16, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

January 18, 2017

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2017 – January 18, 2017 - January 25, 2017 at All Day
Darrell Johnson: Preaching Workshop: Preaching Romans – January 18, 2017 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
EFC Webinar: How Do Our Churches Grow in 2017? – January 18, 2017 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Service – January 18, 2017 at 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Lighthouse Voyage's Freedom Gala – January 18, 2017 at 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: Adele Wilding & Dan Reynolds Trio – January 18, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

January 19, 2017

Calvin College January Series (Webcast / 15 Talks) – January 19, 2017 - January 24, 2017 at 9:30 am - 11:30 am
Kingdom Pearls: Pre-conference Workshop – January 19, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

January 20, 2017

CYWC Vancouver – January 20, 2017 - January 21, 2017 at All Day
Justice, Advocacy and Spiritual Practice with Judy Graves – January 20, 2017 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Vision to Reality – January 20, 2017 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Doing Kingdom Work in the Secular Workplace – January 20, 2017 - January 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Kingdom Pearls: CWC Women's Conference – January 20, 2017 - January 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm
Praying the Psalms – January 20, 2017 - January 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 3:30 pm

January 21, 2017

BC Christian Academy's Annual Pancake Open House – January 21, 2017 at 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Family on Mission with Mike & Sally Breen – January 21, 2017 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Ecumenical Outreach to the Homeless – January 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Testament of a Naked Man: A Contemporary Dramatization of the Gospel of Mark – January 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Ember – January 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Laughter and Life in Poetry and Music – January 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

January 22, 2017

Jazz Vespers: Norm Quinn's Q5 – January 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Taizé Contemplative Service – January 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Gracia Burnham – January 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

January 24, 2017

The Leaders' Series: Dr Ronnie (Chuang Rang) Gao - The Advanced Art of Market Segmentation: Do you really know your audience? – January 24, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

January 25, 2017

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Service – January 25, 2017 at 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Allyson Jule: Classroom Silences – Why Saying Nothing at All Can Ruin a Perfectly Good Education – January 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
A Reconciling Hope: The Regent Community Exhibit - Opening Reception – January 25, 2017 at 4:30 pm - 7:15 pm
Jay Bartlett: Supernatural Jesus Seminar - Removing Demons & Healing Hearts – January 25, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Service – January 25, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Service – January 25, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Marcos Flo Quartet – January 25, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

January 26, 2017

Unity of Spirits – January 26, 2017 - January 27, 2017 at All Day
Cambodia Night with the Knights – January 26, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 8:45 pm
Jay Bartlett: Supernatural Jesus Seminar - Removing Demons & Healing Hearts – January 26, 2017 - January 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Noah Derksen 'In Search of the Way' Album Release Concert – January 26, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Cliff Prang: The Power of Looking Stupid – January 26, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

January 27, 2017

Missions Fest 2017 – January 27, 2017 - January 29, 2017 at All Day
Missions Fest Film Festival – January 27, 2017 - January 29, 2017 at All Day
Living Proof Live with Beth Moore, Worship by Travis Cottrell – January 27, 2017 - January 28, 2017 at 5:30 pm - 12:30 am
Rev Conference 2017: Without Warning – January 27, 2017 - January 28, 2017 at 6:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Chapel North Shore – January 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Chapel Surrey – January 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Chapel Tri-Cities – January 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Chapel Vancouver – January 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Menno Simons Role in the Reformation – January 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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