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Archive for the ‘Churchianity’ Category

It’s the last day of another year, and here is my last song for #songaweek2016.

In the middle of writing it, I realized I was quoting from the Bible, the gospel of John, when Jesus is talking to his disciples about getting ready to say goodbye, and he leads up to something I hold as central to my faith – that his followers will be known by their love.

Here’s hoping that maybe in 2017, that can become a little more true.

It’s been an amazing year of songwriting, and I look forward to reflecting on it a bit in another post, as well as making a central list of all the songs and highlighting some of my favorites.

Here’s my song for week 52 of #songaweek2016. Oh, and PS – if you or someone you know might enjoy trying this challenge, check out #songaweek2017.

I go out into the night
I go out I go out like a light

In a little while
you will look for me
you will look for me
and I won’t be there

I go out into the night
I go out I go out like a light

In a stranger’s face
in your daughter’s voice
in the love you share
you’ll know me there

I go out into the night
I go out I go out like a light

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In spite of everything, I still believe . . .

Here’s my song for week 10 of #songaweek2016.

You’re the wind and

I’m the good girl

trying to keep her skirt in place

You’re the music

I’m the stoic

fighting the urge to dance

you are the light

but I’m trying to hide

You’re the bread and wine but I have to fast

you’re the question I’m afraid to ask

you’re the letting go, I can’t hold you in my grasp

but over, under, and right through everything

your still small voice still calls

You’re the road and I’m the traveler

you lay your body down

you make a way through wilderness

draw me to the next horizon

spread your spirit out

You’re the paper I’m the pen

you give me space to think

let me bleed all over you

and you wear the mess like it means something

You’re the wave and I’m the sand

I’m trying to stand firm

but you keep on changing me

 

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So the poet Rumi, the novelist Mary Shelley, the comedian Bill Maher, and the Apostle Paul all walk into a book . . .

It’s a book for, about, and by members of the Christian church, and it finds some helpful instruction in things each of these people (among others) have said or written.

The book is called Frankenchurch, and I cowrote it with my father Larry Tindall and our friend Matt Bissonette. It’s a unique conversation grown from a reading of Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein and comparisons we three see with the story of the church.

You can buy the book or download samples for iBooks and Kindle; and the book is available in print version at Blurb.

Here’s a little sample quote from the book:

Many new-to-church people are excited about life, like the newly-made Victim [the name we gave to Frankenstein’s nameless monster], and eager to create a strong and healthy church, like the young and brilliant Victor [Frankenstein himself].

And many jaded church people, including former church leaders, cannot stand the sight of the church they had a hand in creating, the church that also had a hand in creating them.

All of us church folks are both Victor and Victim.

It’s been nearly five years since we began working on this book, when I was still living in Owatonna. Matt conceived the idea, and invited my dad and me to help him with the actual writing and publishing of it. The first drafts were drawn up in my parents’ backyard garden and around their kitchen table as we three met to talk through the bones of the book itself.

I have fond memories of reading Frankenstein on my front porch swing and writing much of the content of Frankenchurch in the early morning hours before the rest of my family woke.

My dad, ever the pastor-teacher and life coach, poured his mentoring care of others into the discussion questions and revisions and additions to the text of the book; and his business acumen into learning and entering the world of self-publishing.

It’s been a true team effort, and we’re excited to finally send our monster creation out into the world!

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In the news – more mass shootings than calendar days this year. Police brutality, Black Lives Matter protests, Syrian refugees, domestic terrorists, Islamic extremists . . . and my Facebook feed lights up with posturing and politics, fear, reactionism, polarization. So much of it is ugly, irrational, unkind, thoughtless.

I used to have a lot more to say about these things, back when I was smarter and more authoritative on everything, I guess. Now, I just feel softened, tender towards everyone, silent and sorrowful, observing the overwhelming ocean of humans trying to make their way in the world – a few take their pain and anger to destructive extremes, and the Internet ignites over these incidents. Behind our screens, scanning and clicking, we think we know, we’re sure we understand the heart of the matter.

But I for one am safe and comfortable, and it’s possible that until and unless I somehow become otherwise, I simply cannot understand, have very little that’s useful or constructive to tell you from my social media soapbox.

Maybe not every form of silence is violence. Maybe we could all use a silent night or two – shut down the devices and be still. Breathe.

I still identify as a Christian after all these years of living, all the crimes and abuses done in the name of Christ, all my doubts and grievances and downright embarrassment of the church culture I’ve been part of. And the biggest reason I can think of for my tenacity in this faith, is that I have learned I don’t know it all, don’t have it all, can’t get it right – and my faith remains in a God who loves, and loves, and loves us still – all of us, no exceptions – who holds it all together. And I don’t have to be afraid. I too can love unto death, can love my enemy, need not arm myself for battle. God is greater than all. And God is love.

And “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”

PS – If you take me up on the suggestion of a silent night, you might also want some cozy-dark holiday music to ease you back out of it. Halo in the Frost fits the bill, and it’s a free download.

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I graduated from Bethel University (then Bethel College) after transferring there for my last three semesters. While I disagree with the institution’s corporate stance on homosexuality, this article from the student newspaper gives me hope that thoughtfulness, compassion, courage, and grace will move the conversation – and policy – forward in a way that supports and encourages everyone, including LGBTQ people who find themselves at Bethel.

(Full link: https://medium.com/the-clarion/being-gay-at-bethel-7ba07c8e5b9)

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Here’s a solo album I recorded in 2005, that I re-released last month on Noisetrade where you can download it for free.

http://noisetrade.com/juliabloom/a-human-called-woman

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Heaven and the music industry* have twisted themselves together in my brambled mind. I mean the heaven I used to believe in, and the music industry I used to dream about, and the way they both still affect me on a gut level I’ve not paused to think about before.

Something about being chosen, about higher-ups moving in mysterious ways, about knowing the right people, being in the right place at the right time.

And clashing with that, having a voice and a soul that feel too large for my timid self, that come tearing out sideways if I try to box them up – but not having enough of the mysterious something – the look, the drive, the belief, the secret decoder – to make it with the gatekeepers.

Something about scarcity, about me and scads of people I know or have heard, who keep making music and living big soulful lives because what else can they do? – and the airwaves being just too crowded, the need for the higher-ups to choose only some, the ones who work the hardest, clamor the loudest, get born into the right family at the right time.

And how I don’t feel like I really want to be chosen in a system like that, and how I feel more alive outside the contrived paradise, where kids and old people and loud people and shy people and generally awkward people and anyone else below the industry standard are making their music and living their lives, sans audience, sans halo.

No mansion for me, and no platinum record. I’ll just be out on the front steps of heaven, singing my guts out** with the rest of the unchosen.

 

*Whatever heaven may be, this ain’t it; and “the music industry” is hardly such an easily-generalized monolith, and there are many highly successful musicians making music I love and doing good authentic work. This post is about opting out of elitist mentalities, wherever they crop up, and not letting fear of being unchosen keep us from being who we really are, making music whether anyone listens or not, searching our souls despite the disapproval of the gatekeepers of faith or tradition or clout in any form.

**“You’ve been singing your guts out / Is that not enough to do?” – I love this phrase from a Luka Bloom song, whose lyrics also seem relevant to this post: http://www.lukabloom.com/lyrics/riverside_album/the-one/

 

Extra credit – these songs:

 

 

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