Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Fashion of the Christ

With a title like that, how could you not read? Even if it's not about Christian T-Shirts (these in particular crack me up)? Another recent favorite: Rhythm and Pews. The not-so-closeted punophile in me loves it. Hey, first you groan, and then you read, right? Because the 11th commandment is Thou Shalt Be Clever. The 12th is: Get it Out of Your System Before You Title Something. The 13th is probably something about Not Being Snarky. (Sigh. That's probably why we are not supposed to add to the prophecy. . .)

In any case, here's a Businessweek article about one of the effects that mainstream success has had on the Christian music, movie and publishing industries. The deck summarizes it well: "Corporations like Sony and Time Warner are grabbing pieces of the religious music, movie and book markets. The losers: Small specialty stores."

What's your favorite independent music store? How are some ways you support independent retailers and the indie gospel scene?

Meet Chiccy Baritone

Lurkers, I'd like you to meet Charlene Evans, a friend of Gospel Gal's family. Charlene is Chiccy Baritone, a spoken-word poet who is beyond up-and-coming: She's Next In Line. That's the name of her CD, which is available at www.cdbaby.com/charleneevans. Here, she shares her piece "The Great Escape."

The Great Escape

I find my therapy from life in scores, notes, and melodies. Rhyming or flowing, if I could inject music in me I will be a never-ending story. Make room in my vessel for the most high God who speaks clearly and spiritually thru words that can be sung or read like poetry. All music creates a movement but I prefer that my movement brings me closer to you...so is your name Jesus? I can go to places unknown or rebuild the place I have always known thru the groove of the spiritual cadence sung by my ancestors of long ago. Give me a song of praise to keep me invincible to pain, hurt, wrong ways; it’s only a hum or song away. I don’t need anything to partake of the “great escape” because for me it’s in my heart like the “Word of God” and it plays a part in shaping life. I am a melting pot creating a melting pot in order to get the gospel out...use me, change me, then release within me the songs of the most high God, written like poetry.

--chiccy baritone

Hear Charlene performing more of her poetry--and buy the CD--at www.cdbaby.com/charleneevans. You'll enjoy it. Mention that Gospel Gal sent you!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Church and the Recognition of Creativity

"I don't think it's a coincidence that American blues and country-western music have their roots in gospel music. Many of our best musicians started out in church choir. In part this is because church choir was the main, sometimes the only, form of music available in poor rural communities. But church is where many of us learn to express our spirit in a creative way. It's where we first understand that the Spirit moves in poetry and song. For many of us church is the first larger audience we have for our own words, spoken or sung aloud, our knees shaking as we blink back tears and try to communicate to the world who we are on the inside."

--Vinita Hampton Wright, in The Soul Tells a Story: Engaging Creativity with Spirituality in the Writing Life