TS10

TS10: Eaux4Pools

Welcome to a special edition of the TS10. It’s special in that there are several strains running through this playlist which carry different kinds of significance. Eaux Claires is this week and I’m excited to partake in that incredible event once again (I’ve undergone something of an evolution in my thinking about the festival over the last couple of years, which I will likely share more about later). With the impending “return to the river,” the playlist kicks off with Bon Iver and The National, a small nod to the creators of Eaux Claires, Justin Vernon and Aaron Desner. J.E. Sunde is also included because of the festival, not because of his involvement, but because in my opinion he really ought to be involved!

Independence Day is also upon us here in the States. I am quite ambivalent about the 4th of July. While I’m grateful for the immense freedom we possess here, I am also aware of the racist and bloody past (and present) we tend to whitewash not only this time of year, but pretty much all the time. As a follower of Jesus, it’s hard for me to be excited about celebrating rebellion from our governing authority (wink wink, Jeff Sessions) and the facilitators of that rebellion who were, by and large, slaveholders and/or proponents of the slavery as well as the subjugation and dehumanizing of indigenous peoples. I find the  4th to be a prime opportunity to grieve and repent, personally.

Based on this approach to July 4th, we have Derek Webb’s King and a Kingdom, an anthem from what has become a functional time-capsule in Webb’s 2005 album, Mockingbird. Even though Webb disavows what he once believed, the truth in this song stands: “My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man…” Sylvan Esso’s Parad(w/m)e adds a little political commentary regarding current events. Muse’s Uprising is a call to stand up against the bullies. Marvin Gaye invites us to sit at the table, have a conversation, and bring “a little love in here today.” Lastly, Jimi Hendrix’s legendary version of The Star-Spangled Banner closes out this “Americana” aspect of the TS10.

Lastly, I am very pleased to debut a new song from what is quickly becoming one of my favorite bands, LASKA, rooted right here in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Their new track, Dirty Pools, is creative, a little mesmerizing at times, and rife with anger and pain. Those spill out throughout the song and eventually manifest in a few choice F-bombs at the end (you’ve been warned).

So, yeah, there’s a lot happening in this week’s TS10. So, take a listen and let yourself feel through it all!

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TS10

TS10: The Problem

Just recently, I heard a preacher speak on the New Testament book of James. He spoke with passion as he implored the audience to gain perspective, to see things from the proper viewpoint. During his discussion, he referred to a newspaper editorial from years ago in which the paper asked its readers to define what was wrong with the world. Things felt amiss. Something was wrong and the paper wanted to know what the problem was.

Renowned theologian G. K. Chesterton apparently sent an answer to that question. His response was simply “I am.” From what I understand, Chesterton was a good man and his writings have impacted lots of people. However, when considering the malaise hanging over the world, he saw himself as the cause. He was the problem. And so am I. And so are you.

Racism exists because we let it (and sometimes we facilitate it). Same with sexism, senseless gun violence, police brutality, and on and on and on. I am the problem. You are the problem.

While that seems heavy (and it is), that concept is also laced with hope. If the problem is in me, I can do something about it. I can’t control what anyone else will do. But, I can do something about the hideous stuff that lives in me.

-Ed

WARNING: This playlist contains some intense language here and there.

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TS10

TS10: Ain’t It Grand…

… when you’re living in La La Land? Ain’t talking about that movie from a couple of years back. No, it’s that head-in-the-sand, oblivious La La Land in which it’s so easy for us to take up residence, unaffected by things happening around us and the damage done to our neighbors. All Star United’s La La Land is a part of this week’s TS10 and it “celebrates” living in that space. It’s pretty scathing for church folks like me, actually.

Maybe that song won’t speak to you or challenge you, but I hope there’s something else here that will. Whatever it is, I invite you to feel it.

-Ed

 

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TS10

TS10: Not That Great

This week’s playlist is named after the LASKA song included here by the same title. The song makes me smile, because I can relate to some of the sentiment in it.

Look at me and know, that I am not that great.

You love me because you’re blind to my mistakes.

While these words seem to speak to a deep-seated insecurity, they also speak to a truth. We’re all messed up. We are just “not that great.” And it’s okay, especially when we all embrace our “not that great-ness”.

It’s those broken pieces in us, the parts that make us not so great, that remind us of how much we need help, how much we need healing. In some small way, I hope this week’s TS10 leads you and me toward a new level of wholeness and peace, even though we’re “not that great.”

-Ed

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TS10

TS10: Sometimes

I fell in love with King’s X back in 1991. I loved their gut-level honesty and creativity. One of their early songs, Sometimes, is included in this week’s TS10. I love the tension is the song. I can relate to it. Stuck in the give and take of already/not yet. Hope deferred. Conflict in the pursuit of peace.

Those kinds of tensions are familiar to the TS10 and this week’s edition is no different. Take a listen and feel the tension. Maybe engaging in it will unlock some healing and/or freedom for you.

-Ed

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TS10

TS10: Lampstands

(Excerpts from Revelation 2-3)

To the angel of the church in…

I know where you live – where Satan has his throne. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die.

You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

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TS10

TS10: Tiny Little Sparks

Image from Bri Murphy’s website

The talented Bri Murphy released Things We’d Rather Not Say, her first full-length album, last week and it is pretty gorgeous. Her Tiny Little Sparks anchors this week’s eclectic TS10. Take a listen!

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TS10: Allergens and Flonase

I spent most of the day sitting in my comfy chair in my office, with my laptop and an open window. I love working from home and having that warm breeze floating through the room. That recliner, that window, that room… it’s kind of my happy place.

As the afternoon wore on, my eyes started hurting a bit. I could feel them getting puffy and itchy. I knew what the irritant was (seasonal allergies), but I was slow to get up grab the Flonase. For a moment, for some reason, I tried to deny the effect the allergens were having on me.

Wouldn’t you know it… once I got up from my once happy place and took the Flonase, everything was better. I was almost immediately relieved.

I don’t know where you are right now. If you are feeling “under it,” and need some relief, I hope this little playlist helps you find it. Maybe you’re a little too cozy in your “happy place,” and what you really need is an irritant, something to wake you from an intellectual or emotional slumber. Wherever you need to go emotionally, I hope, in some way, these ten songs will help you get there.

-Ed

 

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TS10

TS10: Tempered Celebration

Okay, I admit, I gotta calm down a little bit. This warm air in western Wisconsin is a bit intoxicating right now. I almost wondered it it was ever going to come. Such warmth had me wanting to build a really happy, partyish playlist this week. But, that’s not really what we do, per se. So, there’s some celebration in here, for sure, but there’s also the normal spectrum of emotion. Take a listen and enjoy (or cry, you know, whatever…).

-Ed

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TS10

TS10: Mood

A while back, my boy became obsessed with mood rings. I didn’t really understand it. Some other kid from school may have turned him on to them. However this fascination originated, he was not going to be content until he got his mood ring.

Well, he ended up with three different mood rings, all of them either lost or broken. That’s okay, though, because my man wears his mood like an overcoat. It is evident. I don’t need a phony ring to try to discern it.

This week’s TS10 is full of mood, I think. And the mood shifts from song to song, sometimes continuing a specific strain of mood while launching into some other mood simultaneously. Not sure what kind of mood you’re in right now, but if you’re like me, your moods can shift and pulse in different directions just like this playlist.

-Ed

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