Lankum - The Granite Gaze

Dude, this video. Watch it through. It's not just an amazing song. Lyrics below the video if you want to follow along. 

Are we the ones left behind
by those who weave cords that bind
They draw the marrow from our very bones
And we in-turn turn on our own

Stood in line in horse-hair shirts
We cued up to eat the dirt
We traded lumps on narrow streets
And bite the hand when you've no teeth

And it's a standing ovation for the shadow of a stone
As we dig into the soil beneath our homes
The future's further day by day, as our father's turn away
And he was clinging to a mother who eats her own

The granite gaze upon us now
A skulking mass recalling how
To plant a secret and tell no lies
For now we own those same-stone eyes

And it's the last gasp of wonder for a cretin on a throne
As our daughters sneak away across the phone
The future's just a thing we say to keep the sordid past at bay
And still we cling onto the mother who eats her own

We are the ones left behind
In swaddling bound with baling twine
They stole the marrow from our very bones
And we in-turn turn on our own

Misterwives - "Reflections"

I'm testing the idea that listening to a song too much makes you eventually get sick of it. So far, I'm failing.

My daughter discovered Misterwives recently and said I might like them. As a snobby audiophile I clucked my tongue, listened with arms crossed, and then listened again and again and again. Now I'm almost dancing in my seat at my coworking office and avoiding eye contact.

Check out Misterwives - "Reflections." They have a newer album, but this song from a couple of years ago is my jam right now... 

"Cold Little Heart" - Michael Kiwanuka

There are a few times every year that I hear of a good music review and check out an album and become entranced. Michael Kiwanuka has done that to me with his album Love & Hate. Only $5 to download, or enjoy on a streaming service you use. Here's the song I can't stop playing, "Cold Little Heart." The opening is 6 1/2 minutes long and then it gets into the song and I never want the opening to end, and then it does, and I'm so glad because it's this whole other thing. What an epic this is. Hope you enjoy it.

Best Albums of 2016

I've been pretty busy this year, so I have a long list I could give but I don't feel like I've listened deeply enough to do 30 albums justice. But I can give you five that I think are the bees' knees. My lists all the way back to 2006 are below. Enjoy! And please let me know your favorites!

5. Pinegrove - Cardinal

4. Frank Ocean - Blonde

3. Slow Dakota - The Ascension of Slow Dakota
Christ-haunted. Literary. Curious. Playful. Mindful.
Try: "I Am Held Together"

2. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
Punky. Can rock hard, but driven by lyrics. Wonderfully honest and provoking lyrics.
Try: "Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales"

1. Bon Iver - 22, A Million
Hands down, the bestest of the bestest. Yeah, I know, it's quirky and weird and whatever. It's almost perfect as work of art depicting the messy clamor through darkness and struggle in the search for something more. It's longing and wanting and waiting and a whole bunch of things that should make the thoughtful listener think and seek alongside Vernon. It's the kind of spiritual pursuit that I want from art. It's not easy. But it's really good.
Try: 33 "God" | Full Concert

 Previous Years -- Best Albums

20152014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 

How My Family Wishes Me Happy Birthday

When my kids or my wife have a birthday, I stay up the night before until they are in bed and then I hang up streamers and sometimes other decorations in the kitchen and living room. I've been doing it for years because my wife tells me to and because I'm tall enough to do it without any help. It's a neat tradition, to awaken on your birthday and have a festive house just for you. 

Today is my birthday and THIS is what I got...and it proves how much my family understands my sense of humor and how much they love me. I couldn't have smiled any wider!

McCoy Family Update!

After 12+ years pastoring at Doxa Fellowship in Woodstock, Illinois, I've accepted a new job working for Ed Stetzer and his Mission Group. I'll be doing work as a Content Strategist for Mission Group to help develop resources to equip the Church for the mission. Molly and I, along with our four kids, are very excited about this new chapter of life and ministry.

Our plan, God-willing, is to stay in Woodstock for Jack's senior year and to move near Wheaton, Illinois soon after that. My last Sunday at Doxa is this Sunday, October 2nd.

Thanks for your prayers during our time at Doxa and we ask that you might ask God to help us through this transition, for our needs as we hope to stay local for a while longer for the good of our kids, and for our church as we leave.

The Carnival Barker

Our Woodstock poetry group, Atrocious Poets, was brought in to interact with our local and amazing art show, 4th Fridays. Artists come from far away to show their stuff. 

We read some poetry inside, some outside. Some poems were our own and some from famous poets. Our fearless leader, Sophie, was sitting at an old Royal typewriter and writing "Atrocious Poetry While You Wait." The response blew us away. She wrote dozens of poems. My specialty was reading outside at an entrance point where everyone who entered funnelled in. I wrote one poem in particular I was excited to use and it really only served the purpose of this event. Here it is for you, and it should be read aloud in the style of a carnival barker.

For an event like this I wanted the poem to be quick to grab attention but not for long. It's an introduction to the rest of the show. 

Ladies and gentlemen
boys and girls, 
welcome to the greatest show
on earth.

Come one, come all
come short, come tall
step right up and pay the price
to see these wonders captured
by untamed imaginations,
by hearts enraptured. 

Enter the scenes
these artists have made,
leave the week’s work
and worries behind
and find in what
you see displayed
beauty and truth
for heart and mind.

Now go, enjoy,
drink deep this night
we hope in art
you may see light.

The night was a huge success and it was really just us dipping our toes in the water in preparation for a few other things we want to do the next show we participate in. Can't wait!

NPM16 - Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg: The great Chicago poet who looked carefully at his city and wrote everyman sort of poetry about them. Here one about the "Clark Street Bridge" which is near the famous corn cob buildings and a hundred other urban wonders. This bridge is only a few blocks from where we stay in Chicago during Elijah's crohn's treatments and was directly on our path back to the train station. Sandburg was the first to call Chicago the "City of Big Shoulders." 

DUST of the feet
And dust of the wheels,
Wagons and people going,
All day feet and wheels.

Now.    .    .  
.    .   Only stars and mist
A lonely policeman,
Two cabaret dancers,
Stars and mist again,
No more feet or wheels,      
No more dust and wagons.

    Voices of dollars
    And drops of blood
    .   .   .   .   .
    Voices of broken hearts,
    .  .  Voices singing, singing,       
    .  .  Silver voices, singing,
    Softer than the stars,
    Softer than the mist.

What poems do you write about your city, your streets, the people you meet and see along the way? Don't just go where you are going. Truly see the marvels around you as you go and then sit and write something beautiful about it.

NPM2016 - Thomas Hardy

I've been looking into some Thomas Hardy poetry recently and quite enjoy his work so far. "Though frequently described as gloomy and bitter, Hardy’s poems pay attention to the transcendent possibilities of sound, line, and breath—the musical aspects of language." Here's one to get you started if you don't know him. 

I look into my glass,
And view my wasting skin,
And say, ‘Would God it came to pass
My heart had shrunk as thin!’

For then, I, undistrest
By hearts grown cold to me,
Could lonely wait my endless rest
With equanimity.

But Time, to make me grieve,
Part steals, lets part abide;
And shakes this fragile frame at eve
With throbbings of noontide.

Thomas Hardy as found in Great Short Poems

NPM2016 - Acquainted with the Night

I heard Dana Gioia read this poem at a lecture and fell in love with it. I have a particular fascination with issues of darkness and light when it comes to writing, and the darkness particularly associated with the night. 

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rainand back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. 
I have been one acquainted with the night.