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O thou brain -- exalted, senior,
Holding forth from pulpit's throne.
Feed us with thy academia,
Meted out in monotone.
     ‘We could never,
     ‘We could never,
     ‘Plumb such myst'ries on our own.'

Hear the classics now recited,
Tumbling from thy tutored lips.
Nooks ignored are now ignited,
By thy greek and latin quips.
     ‘O how richly
     ‘O how richly,
     ‘Wisdom from each sentence drips.'

Teach us frames to fathom glory,
Scriptures' tale doth not agree.
Pure distil the Jesus story,
Into subtle sophistry.
     ‘All was darkness
     ‘All was darkness,
     ‘Till thou spoke and now we see.'

Pompous, ponderous, proud, pretentious,
Leaning o'er thy preacher's perch.
Pressing out the sap that quenches,
Thirst for knowledge, Eden's search.
     ‘Breathe thy wisdom
     ‘Breathe thy wisdom
     ‘Till inflated is thy church'

O thou noble mind pray guide us,
Through the darkness and the lies.
Warn us from thy foul deriders,
We shall fear, avoid, despise.
     ‘Raise a banner
     ‘Raise a banner
     ‘We shall chant thy tribal cries.'

How to mark our true devotion?
What could ever count as praise?
But to clone thy stale emotion,
Forced to feign thy learned ways.
     ‘Where's my pulpit?
     ‘Where's my pulpit?
     ‘I'll abide there all my days.'

Marching strong into the brightness,
Resolute, we set our face.
Staunch persistence, clothed in rightness,
Rectitude, our saving grace.
     ‘Call us onward
     ‘Call us onward
     ‘Grimly to our resting place.'

Then one day in vindication,
Face to face at last we'll see
Precious few in that location,
Gathered with thy coterie.
     ‘Now receive us
     ‘Now receive us
     ‘To thy ‘ternal library.'

 

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I'll confess I'm part of the problem as much as I'm part of the solution.

But part of the solution is confessing there's a problem.

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I sometimes post up kids songs.  Here's a collection I've put together for my nephews and neices for Christmas.

(If you've downloaded my other songs, notice an old song not seen on the blog before - the Poison Cup.  I've also re-recorded Power and have done the Christmas round in a lower key at the end).

Anyway, here are:

Uncle Glen's Silly Songs

1.  Christmas Round - Good News of Great Joy

2.  The Jonah Song

3.  Moving - The Egypt Song

4.  John 3:16

5.  Shipwrecked (from the Holiday Club of the same name)

6.  Power - Romans 1:16-17

7.  The Secret Song - Philippians 4:13

8.  The Poison Cup (part of a Garden of Gethsemane assembly)

9.  Fake Plastic Trees - Country Hoedown

10.  Christmas Round (remix - in lower key)

11.  Christmas salutation

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What's your least favourite Christmas Carol line?

"The little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes" gives me heartburn.

But ironically my least favourite line comes from my favourite carol - Hark the Herald:

"Veiled in flesh the Godhead see."

Doesn't this communicate the terrible error that 'becoming flesh' obscures the divine glory rather than expresses it?  It seems to say that Christ's glory exists behind and apart from His flesh.  As though His humanity hides his divinity.

Or can we salvage the line?  Perhaps it's just like Luther's 'revealed in His hiddenness / hidden in His revealedness' type paradox?  Does the following line cover the error - "Hail the Incarnate Deity"?

What think you?

And are there other lines that bug you at Christmas?

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A Christmas song on Luke 2:10

Actually I haven't heard it sung as a round. I just knocked it out as a last minute addition to a CD of songs I'm sending to nephews and nieces.  I think it works though.  But it might be a bit tricky for kids.  Dunno.  I hope it's catchy:

Don't be afraid.  x4

Good news of great joy for all of the people.  x2

A Saviour is born in the town of David.  x2

He is Christ the LORD.  x2

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6

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Meditating on Mark 4 has made me think about genuine Christian growth.  Gospel transformation is not like manufacture.  It's agriculture.  It's the word planted deep - fragile but potent, internal but outgoing, gradual but multiplying beyond all expectation.   

Anyway I wrote this kids song on the theme.  Fake Plastic Trees (Country Hoedown) (again, recorded on handheld voice recorder with Yamaha keyboard late at night trying to keep it down!  Anyway, you get the idea.) 

(The underlined word is the first beat of the bar):

Years ago my daddy said
"You my son was born and bred
To grow the greatest fruit seen in the state."
He left me seeds and plenty land
Fertiliser, by the bag
But that just takes too long, and I can't wait (no sir)

Well - a short cut must be found
I aint diggin' in the ground
Maybe fruit trees I can make
Don't really matter if they're fake

I'm stapling fruit upon the tree
Apple, mango and kiwi
Folks are laughing but I don't know why
I'm glueing grapes onto the vine
Nailing up a clementine
While people laugh and holler, point and sigh.

Well - my fruit trees look okay
If you're standing half a mile away
But - it makes it hard to chew
When your fruit is dipped in superglue

Once I thought to "grow" a plum
Stuck it on a pole with some chewing gum
My daddy saw me and he shook his head
"Son you've gone and lost your mind
You're an apple short of a crumble pie
Your tryin to create life from what is dead."

Well - he looked me in the eye
He said "Son, I'll give it one more try
Here's my best advice to you
This is what you need to do"

Fruit takes time, leave it on the vine
Plant it deep, it grows up high
The life within will sprout, you can be sure
The seed has power, let it flower
Through the sun and through the shower
What you sow you'll reap and so much more

Well my Pa is kinda wise
So I heeded his advice
I took my time and planted all his seed
Six months on it grew up slow
A hundred fold of what I sowed
More than all the fruit I'd ever need

Well - success I'd never had
When I listened to my dad
These the words that made a hit
Learn them well and don't forgit

Fruit takes time, leave it on the vine
Plant it deep, it grows up high
The life within will sprout, you can be sure
The seed has power, let it flower
Through the sun and through the shower
What you sow you'll reap and so much more

Well Jesus spoke about His word
It's like a seed and when it's heard
It goes down deep, get's planted in our heart
Later on it sprouts up new
In joy and peace and goodness too
So listen to His word to play your part

Fruit so tender and so choice
When you listen to His voice
Learn the lesson from the seed
These the words that you should heed:

Fruit takes time, stay in the Vine
Plant it deep, it grows up high
The Life within will sprout, you can be sure
The Word has power, let it flower
Through the sun and through the shower
What you sow you'll reap and so much more

Fruit takes time, stay in the Vine
Plant it deep, it grows up high
The Life within will sprout, you can be sure
The Word has power, let it flower
Through the sun and through the shower
What you sow you'll reap and so much more

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3

Here's a hymn.  Not sure it's finished - not happy with switch to first person in final verse.  Critique happily received (very new to this).

It fits with any common metre tune - maybe one of these: Worcester, Moravia, Martyrdom, Manoah, Leicester, Faith, Dundee, Dunfermline, Crimond, Cheshire. Burford, Bradford. Belmont

 

The glory of the bloodied God
His fruitfulness in shame
Stooped lower than all men have trod
In torment in the flame

The writhing worm, disjointed dry
Rejected from His birth
Thrust groaning into Satan's sky
Accursed by heaven and earth

Hell's blackest cloak enfolds with death
From Pinnacle to pit
To choke the Source of Living Breath
Extinguish all that's lit

The Mighty Man at war cries out
It echoes ‘gainst the sky
Resounding as a futile shout
Within a victory cry

Creation torn from Head to toe
His body out of joint
The Rock that splits is split in two
Creation to anoint

Our Jonah hurled as recompense
Into abysmal depths
The beast that swallows Innocence
Is swallowed by His death

Divine appeasing blood poured out
Divinely pleasing scent
While man appraises with his snout
Declares it death's descent

Crowned in curse, enthroned on wood
My God nailed to the tree
The reigning blood, that cleansing flood
Is opened up for me.

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Here's a song I wrote for a holiday club for 7-11 year olds. We called it Shipwrecked. 

We turned the church into a desert island and we were all washed ashore having run our ship aground.  The Captain had put us in charge of his incredible ocean liner - he'd built it with his son.  He gave us the wheel and said he'd see us when we got to Paradise Isle, all we had to do was sail straight.  Of course we chose to head off to Dead Man's Cove instead and we came unstuck.  Mercifully, the Captain decides to send his son through the treacherous waters to rescue us and bring us home.  The question is, will we trust the son?

We based the week around John 3:16 and had studies in John each day. 

One thing I really liked about the week was how sin was taught as unbelief.  Basically we taught about our dire position before God - shipwrecked through not trusting Him in the first place.  But then we taught salvation and then the big sin was rejecting the rescue.  On the final day we had one of the castaways deciding to stay on at Dead Man's Cove and make the best of it while others go with the son.  The order of teaching was essentially:

Creation

Fall (which was essentially caused by unbelief),

Rescue

then

Sin (as rejection of rescue) or Salvation (as receiving rescue)

I found this to be a refreshingly Johannine way of teaching the gospel.  Note how John 3:16 goes on:

16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 

There is a condemnation already for not believing in Jesus but it remains as we remain in unbelief (same thing in v36).  The question we are left with is not 'what have we done with the law?' but 'what have we done with the Saviour?'  See Jesus' definition of sin in John 16:8-9:

...when the Spirit comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me.

Sin is unbelief.  It's not, finally, the ins and outs of how you shipwrecked yourself on Dead Man's Cove.  At the end of the day, sin is your inexplicable preference for Dead Man's Cove over the Son, your Rescuer.

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Anyway, here's the song - sound's not brilliant but you get the idea.

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Going to a faraway country.
Sailing to a faraway land.
Captain say "See you in paradise,
I'll join you just as fast as I can."

But then we thought we knew better.
Then we thought to change our tack.
Then we sailed our ship into Dead Man's Cove
Don't think we'll ever make it back.

We are shipwrecked, Oh shipwrecked
Nothing here to make us smile
We are shipwrecked, o-oh shipwrecked
Stranded on a desert isle.

Captain send word to greet us.
Can't believe we went off track.
Now he send his son to meet us.
He said he's going to bring us back.

We are shipwrecked, Oh shipwrecked
Nothing here to make us smile
We are shipwrecked, o-oh shipwrecked
Stranded on a desert isle.

The son came a long, long distance,
Fight through many a trial.
He stood on the shore, said "Climb aboard,
I take you to paradise isle!"

We are rescued, O rescued
Covered in a beautiful smile
We are rescued, o-oh rescued,
Sailing now to paradise isle.

God so loved the world,
He gave His only Son.
Whoever believes in Him receives
Eternal life and shall not die

We are rescued, O rescued
Covered in a beautiful smile
We are rescued, o-oh rescued,
Sailing now to paradise isle. 

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Also, here's an arrangement of a three-part round to teach John 3:16.  It sounds quite good when you get all three parts coming together but the recording's just got me, so you'll have to try it out yourselves.

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UPDATE 2016: Here are my most current kids songs. (Below is from 8 years ago)

 

I've been dipping my toe into writing Kids Song recently (see bottom of sidebar).  I've recorded them all as wma's on a little handheld speech recorder and the quality on every level is dodgy.  But some people have enjoyed them.  So...

Go here for my Jonah song featuring the greatest guitar chord ever: E7#9 (otherwise known as the Jimi chord).

And here's one called the Egypt Song.  I wrote it for some friends who were moving as a family.  The idea is that Jesus had to move to Egypt and back as a kid.  And now that He's moved to heaven, the One on the throne knows what moving's like.  That kinda thing.  I think we need to sing more about Christ's vicarious humanity and the ascension - so here's my attempt:

When Jesus moved to Egypt land
A long long time ago
His mum and daddy took him there
And so He had to go

When Jesus moved to Egypt land
The bad guys tried to chase
So they took Him down to foreign town
A very strange place

When Jesus moved from Egypt land
Back to Galilee
He had to make some brand new friends
And learn new ways to be

When Jesus moved to heaven's throne
He went there as our friend
He hears us when we speak to Him
He loves us to the end

So as you go to another place
You'll never be alone
The One who knows what moving's like
Is seated on the throne.

So when your scared or when your sad
You know just what to do
Tell your Friend upon the throne
Cos He knows sad times too.

 

Here's the audio.

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