Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Quick Summaries: Calvin, Apostates, Martyrdom, Cherry Creek, and Page CXVI

Quick Summaries are pithy paragraph-long reviews
of releases that cross our QBR desk. 

These are reviews for when you don't have all day 
 to decide whether a resource is worth
your time, money, storage space, or trouble.

Schroeder, Joel Allen, Director. Dear Mr. Watterson. (Documentary about the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes and its enduring cultural legacy) Pre-release online screener. (LHPN)

Swanson, Kevin. Apostate: The Men Who Destroyed the Christian West. Parker, CO: Generations with Vision, 2013. Paper. 312 Pages. $26.95. (LHPN)

The Project. Martyrs Prayers. Indianapolis: Saints and Survivors, 2012. (Audio CD, $12.99.) mp3 audio download, $9.99. (HN) 

Zac Hicks + Cherry Creek Worship. The Glad Sound. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church, 2009. Audio CD. (LH)

Zac Hicks + Cherry Creek Worship.  Without Our Aid. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church, 2011. Audio CD. (LH)

Page CXVI. Good Friday to Easter. Boulder: SoundCloud/Page CXVI, 2014. mp3 audio download. Available April 15. (H)

Today, we'll consider Calvin (the boy, not John C.), apostates and martyrs, and other music, specifically Hymns Resurgent.

+ Substantial, thoughtful, personal, and artistic in its own right, we like Director Joel Allen Schroeder's professional fan film approach to his film, Dear Mr. Watterson, "A cinematic exploration into the impact of the greatest comic strip in the history of the universe: Calvin & Hobbes. French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, & Swedish subtitles available. (The 90 minute feature film)" (film website)  We at QBR still miss the comic strip. Personally, it ended along with The Far Side while I was at university. I spent some Christmas money on the hardcover complete collection of both. We are hopeful that Mr. Watterson will respond to the film with more of our favorite tiger/boy team. Recommended for fans. Watch or buy online! Need an introduction to 3,160 strips of C&H? Pick up a paperback compilation and return for more.

+ It's hard to argue with the author of Apostate. I could understand those who would say he overstates his case. Given that so many have understated or ignored the damage to Western Civilization by Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, Dewey, and Sartre, I'm willing to give Kevin Swanson the benefit of the doubt. This is spiritual warfare. Apostate exposes The Men Who Destroyed the Christian West. This is in-depth, riveting, informative reading. I read it in one sitting, but I do not recommend that approach or experience to others. The book reads like an autopsy report while the patient is living, yet likely terminal. I do not share the grim post mortem of the author, yet I wish to be generous in my appreciation for what will be difficult to accept yet true points about decline. Oremus! Kyrie! And Consider...

+/ I listened to Margaret Becker, Phil Keaggy, and Glenn Kaiser in the 1990s and wondered what they were up to today. This is it. Visit for more information about a book (which I have not seen) that gave inspiration for these songs, which may give the current generation pause to think about what it means to be a martyr for Christ. Is Bonhoeffer a martyr? Some may question his status in that category. LCMS Lutherans should note that the video for Romero was partially filmed in Kramer Chapel of Concordia Theological Seminary since it had the same "modernist" feel as the hospital chapel in San Salvador where Romero was shot. While not music I would use in public corporate worship, it would be worthwhile for others to hear, consider, and upon which to reflect. Consider the words of Cardinal Francis George: "I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history." Perhaps this CD would be a good companion to the previous book.

We've considered a variety of groups and individuals recovering the use of historic Christian hymns in a fresh way. While not all are models we would encourage you to imitate on Sunday Morning, we do believe they are worthy of your attention.

+ Cherry Creek is a Colorado congregation that belongs to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Zac Hicks is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is Pastor of Worship at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (home church of Dr. D James Kennedy, former pastor and of current Senior Pastor, William Graham Tullian Tchividjian). Together, Zac Hicks + Cherry Creek Worship have released two albums, The Glad Sound and Without Our Aid that highlight new arrangements of hymn texts by Phillip Doddridge, Isaac Watts, Reginald Heber, Charles Wesley, Johann Rist, William Kethe, and Ambrose of Milan, et al. Chord charts are here: I am thankful for yet another example of hymns being intentionally brought back into the worship life of Christ's Church. When you have time, consider the new music settings Hicks provides for Luther texts. You'll have a lot to read. Hicks is a prolific blogger.

+ Our friends at Page CXVI return with an album intended to conclude their set for the festival half of the Church Year. I commend them for that rediscovery (the Church Year) as well as their passion for hymns. Chord charts are here: 
Hear their take on "O Sacred Head How Wounded, "Go To Dark Gethsemane," "Three, "Roll Away the Stone," "Christ is Risen," "Christ The Lord has Risen Today," Townend's "How Deep the Father's Love For Us," and "Hallelujah." We encourage the band to look for hymns for the Pentecost/Trinity half of the Church Year.

More information about each of these titles
may be found on each respective publisher's website. 

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Yellowstone Circuit Visitor (LCMS Wyoming District), a permanent member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.