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As told to my kids this evening:

You are not the best person to determine what aspects of your personality, or which of your unique attributes, are annoying. Other people are better than you at determining this.

. . .Also known as the wind chime, You know, that multi-tone little-hanging-chime percussion instrument played with the percussionists finger to give an other-worldly fantasy feel to music or dramatic situations.

(Please don’t take this post too seriously)

There is a considerable degree of controversy surrounding this musical device and even among Evangelical circles there is often a great divide in different individual’s beliefs. I can’t count how many times a seemingly innocuous twitter comment about the Mark Tree from a well known evangelical leader has gone viral with thousands of agreeing/hating retweets.

And this is no surprise. On one end of the spectrum, there are those who would say that all usages of this instrument in a worship setting are ‘evil’, ‘following worldliness right into the sewer’, or even ‘digestionally-challenging-to-those-who-have-the-slightest-musical-taste’.

Others suggest that there is no bad time to employ this instrument; it should be ‘played’ at every event that happens in a church, right down to adult baptisms and/or funerals.

I say, can’t we find a middle road here? This ‘instrument’ is neither inherently good nor bad. The key factor is how it is used.

So here, for the Responsible Puppet Reader, is a handy pair of lists to be employed by thoughtful modern worship directors to determine what the appropriate times are for this instrument’s usage.

Good Times To Use The Mark Tree:
1. In a worship song – during a transition period when the song is getting softer and more introspective, particularly if it’s been at least a month since the last time you used it in a worship setting.

Okay, I guess that’s really the only good time to use this instrument.

Inappropriate Times To Use The Mark Tree:
1. As implied above, during baptism services and/or funerals.
2. During a sermon based on Hebrews or Malachi. Or any of the genealogies. Or elsewhere in the Old or New Testament.
3. As a part of an ‘organ only’ service.
4. Communion. So I guess pretty much all of the sacraments are out.
5. During announcements, unless the speaker presenting them is talking about the bussing schedule for the ‘Witness at the Renaissance Festival’ event.
6. In the middle of a ‘Pray silently’ moment.
7. During the “Visitors, Please Introduce Yourselves” portion of a service.
8. During an alter call.
9. As a part of a ‘saxophone only’ service.
10. Right after the benediction.

As you can see, there are plenty of potential pitfalls with Mark tree usage. It is understandable if you just want to avoid using it altogether. But a wise Music Director can navigate these ‘danger zones’ and avoid the horrific musical consequences that so many service leaders have fallen into, pulling all the congregants – kicking and screaming – down with them.

Has your church used the Mark Tree in worship services? Would you have suggestions/amendments for the ‘Good’ and ‘Inappropriate’ lists?

I’m glad you’re here!

My primary creative endeavor is writing music for the Fighter Verse Songs Project.

Did you know that our newest CD is on iTunes and Amazon?

It has 99 key bible verses put to music in 40 Songs. It includes Psalm 1 and Psalm 23.

It’s made for families to help kids learn the Word of God, but adults like it, too.

So go listen to some samples and buy one!


Now that the vote is in and Pastor Jason is being called to be our new pastor (with 99% affirming the call), I have compiled the amusing quotes from Pastor Meyer’s season of candidating and posted them here. I will note two things that are different from the quotes that I’ve previously posted for Pastor John:

  1. Jason’s amusing quotes are longer.
  2. Jason’s amusing quotes are actually in the posted manuscript – at least most of them. Pastor John’s quotes are almost always less planned.

The last quote on the list was spoken by Pastor Meyer about ten minutes before the vote.

Here are the quotes:

A lot of people approach the cross like the ABC’s of the Christian life.    What I mean by that is, it’s a good thing to start with but then as you mature you move beyond it. Right? The cross is like spiritual kindergarten and we don’t watch TV brought to us by the letter C anymore, thank you very much. Haven’t we moved beyond that? . . . And I’m never tired of saying, we never move beyond the cross. We only move further up, further in, to the very heart of God.

Any of us, with our pathetic pride, would not be able to handle this kind of mocking [from the other two criminals on the cross to his left and his right]. Really? You’re dying and you’re dying and you’re mocking me? I know that I wouldn’t be able to stay up on the cross, because I’ve experienced something like this. I had an eighth grade neighbor when I lived in Louisville and I found out that he loved basketball and I found out he wasn’t a Christian, and we decided to play together and I had played a little bit in college so we were going to play together and I was going to let him win, gonna let him beat me and build up some self esteem, and it was all going very well until he got ahead by ten points and started trash talking. “Oh you played in college – were they all girls? ha ha ha!”
And he didn’t win.
And he didn’t score another point.
Because I am pathetic.

Everyone knows instinctively knows that there is a vast difference between running over your neighbor’s mailbox and running over your neighbor.

. . . A distinction between a point and focal point. Something and the main thing. And we all know this if you’ve ever made potato soup, right? Who among us actually thinks potato soup only has potatoes in it? You have potatoes, you have milk, you have flour, you have basil and if you’re good you might actually add some bacon. But it’s not called bacon, milk, potato soup parsley whatever-you-put-in-it. The dominant ingredient becomes the defining element.

Who in this room actually gets what the incarnation is about? The whole fullness of deity . . . in a body. That’s like all of the oceans of the world . . . in a cup! We’re not talking about the difference between regular Dawn detergent dish soap and Ultra Dawn, super-concentrated, twice the cleaning power. We’re talking about fullness of deity in a body, infinite perfection in a human being – how can it be?

We say to God, “You are in another category than me” so what we do is we stop, our minds feel defeated and we adore the wisdom, celebrate the wisdom, and thank God for the Incarnation. There’s a TV show called ‘How It Works’, and sometimes while we’re flipping channels we’ll look at them take some common thing and goes into the inner workings of it. This will never be on that show.

In the first year of my marriage, my wife and I played kind of a funny game, where you don’t just say, “Happy Anniversary” every year, but every month. Sometimes it meant even waking the other person up at midnight to say, “Happy Third Anniversary! Beat you to it!”

We played another funny game, that we don’t do as much now that I’ve made it a sermon illustration, but, we used to say, “I love you” and then with that sparkle in the eye for the other person we’d say, “Oh I love you more” and then it’s like, “Okay, you want to play it that way? Game on, I love you ten times more””Oh, I love you a hundred times more.” “I love you a billion times more!””I love you infinity” And you had to stop. You can’t pull a Buzz Lightyear and say “Infinity and Beyond”. You can’t say, “I love you infinity times ten” It’s not romantic, it’s just bad math! So at this point, do you see? It’s bad theology to say, “We have Christ but we need something else.”

[about candidating for the Pastoral Position] Sometimes I think if you can make it through this process and not be dead then you’re fit for it and if you die then you weren’t called for the position.


If you’d like to see my other humorous posts, please head over to my Attempts category.

If you are on any stage – unless you are in a play, portraying a character who doesn’t care what he/she looks like – you should not be chewing gum.

It is more difficult than I would have thought to whistle into a microphone.

Everyone* one is a rebel. It just a question of what you are rebelling against.

* And I mean, besides being in rebellion against God every time we sin.

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May 2012
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