Friday, July 29, 2005
The gospel according to U2
By Emily Wiggin
This Sunday evening at St. George's, the green drapes behind the
pulpit will be replaced with red to represent the Holy Spirit. The
lectern in the corner will be carted away, the windows opened and the
volume turned up. Way up. The priest wants you to "wail."
Paige Blair, priest of St. George's Episcopal Church in York Harbor,
Maine, is a U2 fan. The biblically driven lyrics, socially inclusive
messages (and The Edge's guitar playing), urges people to "get up off
their knees" start doing something for their fellow man.
When some of her Yahoo Group (an e-mail listserve of Gen-X
clergy-friends) realized that many were independently preaching the
gospel according to U2, they compiled the sermons into a book called
"Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog." The royalties are
donated to an AIDS Support Organization in Uganda.
Paige, as she casually introduces herself, thought the congregation at
St. George's was ready for some rock with their religion. No autocrat
(and a savvy seller of ideas), Paige gave the commuters in the flock a
little homework. They were to play their U2 CDs on their way to and
from work, and decide which songs went better with prayer, confession
and communion. People started to get excited, high school kids and
older members as well. The "EU2charist" was born - the music-based
service will be held at 5 p.m. this Sunday, July 31 at the Clark
"Christian rock" has always had sort of a bad name in the music world,
partly because the gospel message is not so much sung, as it is shoved
down the throat. No one thinks of U2 as a "Christian rock" band.
They've resisted being categorized in that way - they didn't want to
preach to the choir (there was no way to avoid that phrase), the
references are gentle, and the musicianship speaks for itself. Paige
says that if you have "ears to hear" the messages are clear.
Am I deaf? I like U2. But I really had no idea the band had this kind
of spiritual following. I guess I haven't had ears to hear. But that's
probably because, embarrassingly, I've never read the Bible. I just
thought the lyrics were well-written. Looking at one of their fan
sites, www.atu2.com, it's clear that many others do get the point.
"Drawing the Fish in the Sand," a page that maps out all the biblical
references in the lyrics, song by song, is the most-visited page on
This all seems a little "progressive" for an old Episcopal church in
York Harbor. I asked Paige how her contemporary ways went over with
the over-70 set. She laughed. Over the five years at St. George's,
they have all learned to trust each other, she says, but she sometimes
get the feeling they think of her as "that cute girl who does funny
Being "that cute girl" seems to be fine with her. And she has no
interest in tinkering with what works for her older parishioners,
which is usually a more traditional, contemplative service. Which is
partly why she scheduled the "EU2charist" on a Sunday evening, not a
morning. Plus, people from other congregations can come freely,
without feeling like they are cheating on their own churches. Hmm.
Cute and smart.
I have plans Sunday, so I can't attend. But I really wanted to. A
parishioner with a fancy-schmancy home-entertainment system will be
lending the high-volume speakers for the service of song. He asked
Paige, "Do you want to hear it, or do you want to feel it?"
Did he even have to ask?
Emily Wiggin is the community editor of the Portsmouth Herald. She can
be reached at email@example.com. For a complete archive of
Public Emily columns, visit www.seacoastonline.com/news/wiggin.htm
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Who is stryper? A heavy metal band from the 80s. They were the first to get out into the mainstreet music scene - using explicitly Christian messages in their songs. Trademark: Yellow and Black spandex tights and throwing of Bibles onto the audience. They play very loud blistering rock that make most concerts nowadays sleepy.
Stryper paved the way, getting all the critics bad remarks, getting thunderbolts from "Christian" evangelists, admiration and disgust from both Rock Radio/MTV and Rock Magazines. Jars, Sixpence, Switchfoot and POD would not have it so easy today. And today isn't even easy on them too.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Hear Acel's new band! (If you haven't yet)
ACEL'S DAY OFF
PIGS WITH PEARLS
July 31, 2005
at Mayric's España, Manila
Entrance Fee: 100pesos, with free drink
Just in case you've been wondering why you're not hearing this Christian rock show on Sunday nights, it's because it's the end of it. Nah, just kidding...Hehe. The end of that time slot that is, because it's coming back with a new one. I know alot of you are missing it and so do I. Sorry for that. The program is on a temporary break right now but will resume sometime in July. Please watch out for it(will keep you updated here). I thank all those who cared enough to ask and write, thanks so much for all your support and prayers. God bless you. Rest assured that the only show in the Philippines that is dedicated to featuring the best of Christian Alternative/Rock will rock on. ATF will be back to kick more demon butt with more asteeg holy positive headbanging hardcore spiritual loudness! Sound the Word; Jesus Rocks!
Your Rocker Servant,
It's Affirmative ... Relient K Earns RIAA Gold With 'Mmhmm'; Band
Electrifies Fans as Vans Warped Tour Rolls On
Tuesday July 19, 4:18 pm ET
HOLLYWOOD, Calif., July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- "Mmhmm," the current hit
album from Gotee/Capitol recording artists Relient K, has been
certified gold by the RIAA for U.S. sales in excess of 500,000 units.
The certification marks the band's second gold album, following this
spring's RIAA sales award presentation for 2003's "Two Lefts Don't
Make a Right ... But Three Do."
The announcement comes as the Canton, Ohio-based band continues to
thrill sun-baked North American audiences as a main stage act on this
year's installment of the celebrated Vans Warped Tour. Relient K will
continue the trek through to its final bows, set for August 15th at
Northampton, Massachusetts' Three Counties Fairgrounds (see attached
Released last November, the Top 15 "Mmhmm" has proven to be Relient
K's most successful outing to date, reaping unanimous critical
commendations and the fastest sales of the band's career. Fuelled by
non-stop road work -- including last spring's arena/amphitheater tour
alongside Good Charlotte and Simple Plan -- the band's fourth album
recently jumped 38 places to re-enter the top half of the Billboard
200 (spurred by a one-week 27 per cent sales increase).
In other Relient K news, the video for the album's first single, "Be
My Escape," has been added into rotation on MTV this week -- where it
already in the Total Request Live (TRL) countdown. Small screen
viewers may also take in the quartet's scheduled August 22nd
appearance on ABC-TV's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, during which they will
perform "Be My Escape" outdoors. News of the performance follows last
week's appearance on NBC-TV's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Additionally, Relient K are to appear July 22nd on the MTV "Hits"
program, part of Summer on the Strip from Las Vegas; an appearance on
MTV's Hard Rock Live will air later this summer.
Relient K -- Matthew Thiessen: vocals; Matthew Hoopes: guitar; Dave
Douglas; drums; John Schnek; bass; John Warne -- jumped onto the scene
in 1998, quickly drawing praise for their idiosyncratic brand of
melodic, optimistic, pop-injected punk. The quartet developed a
reputation as one of the hardest working bands on the circuit, playing
an average of 200 gigs a year. The constant touring paid off: Relient
K's three Gotee-released albums -- including 2001's "The Anatomy of
the Tongue in Cheek" -- each achieved stand out sales figures while
expanding the band's loyal fanbase across the country.
By 2003, Relient K had become one of modern punk's biggest underground
acts. Their third album, the gold-certified "Two Lefts Don't Make a
Right ... But Three Do" was a Top 40 smash on the Billboard 200. The
album garnered Relient K their first Grammy Award nomination.