We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands

Earlier this week I got in my van, turned on the stereo and… silence. My trial to Sirius/XM radio has run its course. Although saddened at first, I realized that my smartphone communicates with my stereo via Bluetooth and I have all kinds of music available right my fingertips. I have apps on my iPhone for Pandora, iTunes radio, and Rdio. With these tools I have access to literally millions of songs for free or for a nominal fee. This is a far cry from the tools we had in the 1970s.

My first car was a 1962 Ford Galaxy 500 my parents purchased from a friend for $100. It was equipped with only an a.m. radio. This simply was not adequate so I scrimped and saved from my $1.25/hr busboy job to purchase an under-dash mounted 8-track tape player. My stereo cost more than my car. Variety in those days was accomplished by carrying around a shoe box full of 8-track tapes.

There is no way we could have predicted back then that we would someday have access to almost every song we would ever want to hear on a device smaller than a single cassette tape (a technology that was still in the future in the early 70s). Perhaps this is why we don’t listen to music in-depth like we used to. We simply have too much music and too little time. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I can access anything I want whenever I want. My biggest problem is deciding what I want to hear. What a great problem to have.

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Erin go Braugh – The Joy of Irish Music

For St. Patrick’s Day I thought I would post about Irish music. As I began researching the history of Irish music it became increasingly evident a simple post could never do justice to its rich traditions. Irish music is a subset of the genre of Celtic music, although the two terms are often used interchangeably. A nice introduction to Celtic music can be found at:


In recent years the popularity of such artists as the Chieftains, Celtic Woman, and Enya have brought Celtic music to the masses. After researching several choices on YouTube I selected this as a good example of Irish folk music. Enjoy.


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Were you there?

We are now well into Lent and I think about the gift of music God has given us. Kurt Vonnegut, author of Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five once said “If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD WAS MUSIC” 

We owe a great deal to the African slaves of our country’s early existence. Before there was gospel music they gave us Negro Spirituals.  From the website Black history: the origins of the spirituals we get a little understanding into the significance of this music in their lives.

For a time, the slaves simply by-passed the New Testament, especially since their white taskmasters used it to justify slavery. But there was something about the man Jesus, hanging there upon the hard, wooden cross. Here was a man who was beaten like they were. He was spit upon. He was falsely accused. He was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Finally, he was hung on a tree, a method of execution familiar to the slaves. Through all of these indignities, Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

“How was he able to forgive?” they questioned. “What was it that enabled him to love those who were unlovable?” Was he in pain? They were in pain. Did he have to drink the cup of suffering? They had to drink theirs, too. Yes, their cross was one with his cross. Jesus died for the sins of all men, of every color. He had to be who he said he was. How else could he have done what he did? In time, they embraced Jesus as their Savior, and they experienced His peace, His grace and forgiveness, and His hope for the future.”
From this relationship they were able to sing:

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, to tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

This Negro spiritual became a staple in the hymnals of white congregations in the 1940s and is traditionally sung this time of year. Here is a version I particularly enjoy. I hope you will too.



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