U2charist and Christmas CDs

Just posted an article on The Other Journal entitled “Finding a Church that I Can Receive In: Responsing to the U2charist debate“. If you haven’t noticed amidst all your holiday planning, there has been a bit of a rumble in liturgically minded circles surrounding a phenomena called “U2charist” which is a service of Eucharist that utilizes themes and musics drawn from the corpus of U2. While some have denounced the services as evidence that we are only further degrading the Lord’s Supper, I argue that at least these attempts at “singing a new song” is a move in the right direction in spirit if not also in truth. I worry about this vague Emergent semi-traditionalism that desires all the mystical darkness of a by-gone era yet rejects the authority and heritage which gave it life. All the votive candles and powerpoint Icons in the world does not a more Holy supper make… If I have to choose between a neo-goth service that only parodies the heritage it blithely seeks to (re)present and a U2charist… give me the latter.

On another note – Christmas is coming and the proverbial goose is getting rather anti-Atkins. Sooo… let’s talk Christmas CDs! Here is a short list of Christmas discs spinning through my iPod this season – I would love to hear from you as to your sonic holiday cheer:

Over The Rhine – “The Darkest Night of the Year” and “Snow Angels” (the former for dark night of the Christmas soul, the latter for Christmas cheer with your favorite special someone)
Bruce Cockburn – “Christmas” (this is the high watermark of socially responsible cool christmas – too bad it is out-of-print)
Sufjan Stevens – “Hark! Songs for Christmas” (banjos and christmas..it was meant to be – this is a 5 CD set for under $20… what a deal)
Lifted: Songs of the Spirit” – (Ok, OK, this is a Hear Music/Starbucks release… so shoot me! it is a *really* good collection!)
Vince Guaraldi Trio – “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (need I say more – the original Emo boy brings it at yuletime…everytime…)
The Basics – “Canticle of the Turning” (man… I just get sad to think these guys aren’t a band anymore… if you can find a copy on eBay, snap it up…)
Emmylou Harris – Light in the Stable (she knows her bluegrass and brings a humble repose to the traditional)

Supplement – CCM songs I am not embrassed to play in public:

Randy Stonehill – “Christmas at Denny’s” off the Return to Paradise CD (it is really a heartbreaking gem… I pray for the Denny’s customers every season now… you can download the track from iTunes via the “Stories” CD)

John Michael Talbot – the Birth of Jesus (a wonderful album with all the Thomistic pomp this monk can muster…)

Happy Christmas collections from Tooth and Nail – some great covers and punchy vibe

OK – that’s enough for now – let me know your thoughts…

Blessings and peace in this season of Emmanuel

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