Posts Tagged ‘Carrie Brownstein’

Sermon 06-23-13: “The Main Thing”

June 27, 2013
Jesus moved from his hometown of Galilee to Capernaum, where he likely worked as a carpenter.

Jesus moved from his hometown of Galilee to Capernaum, where he likely worked as a carpenter.

Sermon Text: Mark 2:1-12

The following is my original sermon manuscript.

Mark Burgess told me the story of his first Sunday at Hampton UMC. It turns out it also corresponded to the first day of Vacation Bible School. So Mark got up and preached what he thought was a good sermon, but he had barely finished his benediction, he said, when these people marched up and took the pulpit away. And Mark thought, “Was I that bad? Are they not going to let me do this anymore?” I am so grateful to Mark for his faithful, effective, and grace-filled leadership over these past seven years, and his love and support of me during this transition. He has left a strong foundation for ministry on which each of us can continue to build. Praise God?

Corin Tucker, on left

“My favorite band perspired on me!”

As you will surely learn about me, I am passionately interested in music. Back in the late-’90s I saw one of my favorite bands in concert at a sold-out club in Atlanta. They were a female punk-rock trio called Sleater-Kinney. In fact, one of members of the group was a woman named Carrie Brownstein, who now stars with comedian Fred Armisen on a show called Portlandia. She’s even featured in an American Express commercial. Anyway, this small club was packed, wall-to-wall, with people. Standing room only. No elbow room. To make matters worse, the air-conditioning wasn’t working, and it was very hot—and everyone was sweating profusely. Anyway, I was standing near the door that led backstage. Shortly before the show started, the three members of this band that I idolized walked out of that door. And they walked right up to me, and they politely said, “Excuse me,” and they squeezed past me on their way to the concession stand. Each of them brushed against me as they passed. And after they did so, I turned to my friend Keith and said, “I’ve been perspired on by my favorite band! I’ll never wash this shirt again!” Read the rest of this entry »

From this morning’s sermon: Who is Larry Norman?

April 14, 2013
You gotta admit Norman had a great look back in the day.

You gotta admit Norman had a great look back in the day.

I made reference in today’s sermon to Larry Norman, often assigned the dubious distinction of being the “father of Christian rock.” Regardless, I’ve become a fan of first-generation Christian rock—from back in the ’70s, before anyone figured out what it was—back when it was underground protest music. The deeply eccentric Norman, who died at 60 in 2008, was at the forefront of the early scene.

Norman had credibility as a rocker: he was the leader of a ’60s band called People! (does that sound like the ’60s band or what?), which had a Top 20 hit with a cover of the Zombies’ “I Love You.” Even after he decided to make rock music about Jesus, he recorded on a secular label with some of the best studio musicians. His 1972 album Only Visiting This Planet—named by CCM Magazine years ago as greatest CCM album of all time—was executive-produced by Beatles producer George Martin at Martin’s studio.

I became interested in Norman’s music back in 2008, when one of my musical heroes, Carrie Brownstein, former lead guitarist from Sleater-Kinney, blogged about a posthumously released Norman compilation on her now-defunct NPR blog. (Brownstein is far better known today as as Fred Armisen’s very funny comedy partner on Portlandia.) I was amazed that Brownstein was even aware of Norman, who, before his death, was considered washed-up even in Christian music circles.

On her blog at the time, she wrote:

I’ve spent the last few days immersed in Larry Norman-land, which is a more bizarre and contradictory musical world than maybe even Frank Zappa’s or Bob Dylan’s. For one, there are less filters. His lyrics have the straight-talking appeal of someone like Fred Neil meshed with the child-like sensibility of Brian Wilson. Norman verges on the poetic, the mystical, and the metaphysical; and he was a shrewd observer of political injustices. His ruminations are non-conformist; they are words of an outsider, and of the conflicted.

That was enough of an endorsement for me!

I’m linking to a YouTube video of a Norman concert from 2007. This song, which I referred to this morning, is “Reader’s Digest,” a Dylan-esque talking blues whose references time-stamp it in the early-’70s, as Norman acknowledges in the introduction.

Needless to say, he hardly seems washed up here. Rock and roll!