Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints: "Christmas Tunes"

Here's are some Christmas-time tunes for my "hymnal" project in conjunction with my "The Humble Stumble: Lessons on Simplicity, Stillness, Fashion and Faith from a Bad Quaker" book. The follow list is from my friend Ray Tetz, who took me up on my request for "hymns" that matter...

The whole "hymnal" is on Spotify -- "Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints."

1. “I Watch You Sleeping” by Frances Ruffelle
by Mike Batt
John Denver recorded it in the 1970s, but Frances Ruffelle turned it into a Christmas Carol.


"I Watch You Sleeping"

I watch you sleeping, little angel face.
And on behalf of the human race, welcome to this crazy place.
I watch you sleeping, innocent and free.
I don't know what your dreams may be. You don't know what you mean to me.

You have never heard thunder, you have never seen the rain.
But you can still feel the wonder, you can still feel the pain.
And sometimes you look at me, so wise and so sure,
I could easily believe you have been here before.

I watch you sleeping, little angel face.
And on behalf of the human race, welcome to this crazy place.
I won't be here forever, but as long as I'm around, I promise you I will never let you down.
To help make a world you can feel worthy of, I will teach you to fly on the wings of my love.

I watch you sleeping, brave and unaware. You don't know yet so you don't care.
I want you to know it's hard out there.

I watch you sleeping, little angel face.
And on behalf of the human race, welcome to this crazy place.
I watch you sleeping, I watch you sleeping, I watch you sleeping,
I watch you sleeping, I watch you sleeping, I watch you sleeping.

2. “The Star Carol” by Simon & Garfunkel
by Wihla Hutson & Alfred S. Burt
My old college roommate did the best version of this song I every heard, but I’ll settle for Simon & Garfunkel.

"Star Carol"

Long years ago, on a deep winter night.
High in the heavens, a star shone bright.
While in the manger, a wee baby lay.
Sweetly asleep, on a bed of hay.

Jesus our lord, was that baby so small.
Lay down to sleep, in a humble stall.
Then came the star, and it stood over head.
Shedding its light, 'round his little head.

Dear baby Jesus, how tiny thou art.
I'll make a place, for thee in my heart.
And when the stars, in the heavens I see.
Ever and always, I'd think of thee...

3. “Star of Wonder” The Roches
by Terry Roche
The Roches did a terrific album of Christmas music called “We Three Kings.” The title song is quite wonderful, but this is the standout.


For the lyrics (and musical score and note from Terry Roche) click here

4. “Corn Water and Wood” by Riders in the Sky
by Wendy Waldman and Carol Elliot
Cowboy music is one of my guilty pleasures.


5. "Long Way Around the Sea” by Low
by Al Sparhawk, Al, Mimi Parkern and Zachary Micheletti
Just a sweet song.

"Long Way Around the Sea:

We've come so far
We've followed the star
Herod heard
Said "bring me word"
Take the long way around the sea

Here for us
A humble birth
The son of God
Descends to earth
Take the long way around the sea

On Christmas day
On bended knee
Please accept
The gifts we bring
Take the long way around the sea
Take the long way around the sea

We turn to go
An angel shone
Said, "don't go back
To Herod's throne"
Take the long way around the sea
Take the long way around the sea

Take the long way around the sea
Take the long way around the sea

6. “Put the Lights On the Tree,” Sufjan Stevens
by Sufjan Stevens
At our house it wouldn’t be Christmas without Sufjan.

"Put The Lights On The Tree"

Put the lights on the tree
(Put them on the tree)

Put the ribbon on the wreath
(Put it on the wreath)

Call your grandma on the phone
(Call her on the phone)

If she's living all alone
(If she's all alone)

Tell her Jesus Christ is here
(Tell her He is here)

Tell her she has none to fear
(There is none to fear)

If she's crying on the phone
(Crying on the phone)

Tell her you are coming home
(You are coming home)

La la la la la la la

Blessings at Christmas— Ray and Brent

Friday, December 12, 2014

Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints: "The Rebel Jesus"

Here's a little Christmas-time tune for my "hymnal" project in conjunction with my "The Humble Stumble: Lessons on Simplicity, Stillness, Fashion and Faith from a Bad Quaker" book. The whole "hymnal" is on Spotify -- "Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints."

These are not "hymns" in the traditional sense. Rather they're songs that have spoken to my soul in a spiritual sense -- even if they are not "spiritual songs" per se, though my bias is that that our hearts hunger for beauty and meaning and so when artists create something that sings deep in our souls, well, they've created a "hymn," even if it was unintentional. Just as we are unintentional (often) saints -- and imperfect ones.

Suggestions of songs that have spoken deeply to you are welcome!

I'll also post lyrics and video  here.

Today's hymn is  The Chieftains – The Rebel Jesus

“The Rebel Jesus,” by Jackson Browne

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by ‘the Prince of Peace’
And they call him by ‘the Savior’
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgment
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There’s a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus


Jackson Browne's website is http://www.jacksonbrowne.com/home/

Friday, December 05, 2014

Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints: "Seven Angels"

I have stumbled a bit on my "hymnal" project in conjunction with my "The Humble Stumble: Lessons on Simplicity, Stillness, Fashion and Faith from a Bad Quaker" book. It's on Spotify -- "Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints." But I'm doing better at adding a "hymn" regularly.

These are not "hymns" in the traditional sense. Rather they're songs that have spoken to my soul in a spiritual sense -- even if they are not "spiritual songs" per se. Though my bias is that that our hearts hunger for beauty and meaning and when artists create something that sings deep in our souls, well, they've created a "hymn," even if it was unintentional.

Suggestions of songs that have spoken deeply to you are welcome!

I'll also post lyrics and video (when available) here.

Today's hymn is  Hem – Seven Angels

"Seven Angels"

Sleep come easy to your bed this night
Seven angels hold you in their light

One holds a candle.
One holds a crown.
One holds the moonlight shining down.

Dream of fortune in the world below -
Seven angels in the afterglow.

One holds the lantern deep in the mine.
One holds the daylight left behind.

One holds the lightning flashing then gone.
One holds the sun waiting 'til dawn.

by Dan Messe & Steve Curtis (from the album "Departure and Farewell")


Hem's website is http://www.hemmusic.com/


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints: "Every Flower"

I have stumbled on my "hymnal" project in conjunction with my "The Humble Stumble: Lessons on Simplicity, Stillness, Fashion and Faith from a Bad Quaker" book. It's on Spotify -- "Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints." But I'll do better.  I'll get back to adding a "hymn" regularly.

These are not "hymns" in the traditional sense. Rather they're songs that have spoken to my soul in a spiritual sense -- even if they are not "spiritual songs" per se. Though my bias is that that our hearts hunger for beauty and meaning and when artists create something that sings deep in our souls, well, they've created a "hymn," even if it was unintentional.

Suggestions of songs that have spoken deeply to you are welcome!

I'll also post lyrics and video (when available) here.

Today's hymn is  Noel Paul Stookey – Every Flower

"Every Flower"

Every flower's reaching for the sun
Every petal opens when the day has just begun
Even in the city where they grow up through the street
Every blossom needs the sunshine to makes its life complete.
Some are torn out by the roots and cast aside
And some might be arranged and brought inside
A flower's just a seed when it's young
And every flower's reaching for the sun.

Some are bent by fears they cannot see
And some are touched by Love and set free
A flower's just a seed when it's young
And every flower's reaching
Oh every flower's reaching
Every flower's reaching for the sun.

Noel Stookey, Bob Milstein and Peter Yarrow
©1979 Public Domain Foundation, Inc.



Thursday, November 27, 2014

"Let us give thanks for a bounty of people..."

I love this thanksgiving poem. It expresses my thoughts better than I am able. It’s by Max Coots and says:

Let us give thanks for a bounty of people.
For children who are our second planting, and, though they grow like weeds and wind too soon blows them away, may they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where their roots are.
Let us give thanks; For generous friends ... with hearts ... and smiles as bright as their blossoms;
For feisty friends as tart as apples;
For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we've had them;
For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;
For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn, and the others, as plain as potatoes and as good for you;
For funny friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes, and serious friends, as complex as cauliflowers and as intricate as onions;
For friends as unpretentious as cabbage, as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as dill, as endless as zucchini, and who, like parsnips, can be counted on to see you throughout the winter;
For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time, and young friends coming on as fast as radishes;
For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts, and witherings;
And, finally, for those friends now gone, like gardens past that have been harvested, and who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter;
For all these we give thanks.



Let us give thanks, this holiday time, for golden light, good friends, and God’s graciousness. May we open our eyes to jubilant fields and singing trees. Soaring clouds, be they white or gray with rain. Winds warm or chilled by the north. People who are made in God’s own image. Let us give thanks and “sing for joy before the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints: "I'm Not Alone"

I have a started a project in conjunction with my "The Humble Stumble: Lessons on Simplicity, Stillness, Fashion and Faith from a Bad Quaker" book. It's on Spotify -- "Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints."

I'll add a "hymn" a day.

These are not "hymns" in the traditional sense. Rather they're songs that have spoken to my soul in a spiritual sense -- even if they are not "spiritual songs" per se. Though my bias is that that our hearts hunger for beauty and meaning and when artists create something that sings deep in our souls, well, they've created a "hymn," even if it was unintentional.

Suggestions of songs that have spoken deeply to you are welcome!

I'll also post lyrics and video (when available) here.

Today's hymn is  Michael Franti – I Know I'm Not Alone

Thanks to my friend David Austin (@DaveAustin58 ) for this suggestion.

"I Know I'm Not Alone"

Whatever happened to the sun
It seems to always come
Back when we were young
We'd sing and party all night long
The season don't ever come on time no more
War paints over the years
And anger fills our tears
What happened to the sun

But I know, I know, I know I'm not alone
But I know, I know, I know I'm not alone

Everytime I read the news
I'm always more confused
Tellin' me to choose
But there's only lies to choose from
And how many died today
How many lost their homes or shot a gun
Or a loved one
What happen to our sons

But I know, I know, I know I'm not alone
And I know, I know, I know I'm not alone

I know I'm far away from home but I know I'm not alone
I know I'm far away from home but I know I'm not alone


Michael Franti & Spearhead's website is at https://www.michaelfranti.com/home

Friday, October 31, 2014

Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints: "Mercyland"


I have a started a project in conjunction with my "The Humble Stumble: Lessons on Simplicity, Stillness, Fashion and Faith from a Bad Quaker" book. It's on Spotify -- "Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints."

I'll add a "hymn" a day.

These are not "hymns" in the traditional sense. Rather they're songs that have spoken to my soul in a spiritual sense -- even if they are not "spiritual songs" per se. Though my bias is that that our hearts hunger for beauty and meaning and when artists create something that sings deep in our souls, well, they've created a "hymn," even if it was unintentional.

Suggestions of songs that have spoken deeply to you are welcome!

I'll also post lyrics and video (when available) here.

Today's hymn is  Phil Madeira – Mercyland


Phil Madeira's website is http://philmadeira.net/