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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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49 Responses to 596

  1. beatthedrum says:

    Must admit most Christian worship leaves me cold and has done for years, however over the last few years I have found bands like the Parachute Band and Starfield and some of the Hillsong United stuff excellent.

    I have also enjoyed the Newday CD’s when they have been released.

    But most make good coffee mats!

    wSOme reviews can be found on my blog http://www.beatthedrum.wordpress.com

  2. Robb says:

    Oh no – I have to go out and don’t have time for a 2000 word essay on the topic.

    Jon – it’s not fair to post sometimes through the day and some times through the night!!

  3. dadube says:

    babe you need to change insure to ensure :P
    I want to know how many of jon’s cd’s are hanging from the tree???
    (btw you know I’m joking – love you and everything you do, altho I’m still waiting for the cheesy lyrics for the creation song for my RE course!)

  4. dennis says:

    Mwhaaaaaa ha ha ha thats hilarious!! I was wondering what to do with my CD’s that’s a good idea. It will also keep everyone else away too, now where did I put my hillsongs cd…..

  5. jonbirch says:

    thanks dennis! :-)

    dadube… correction done! thanks. :-)

    robb… yeh sorry for the inconsistency in posts. still not quite sorted with internet, but getting there. been offline for 48 hrs or so. boo! :-)

  6. Mike says:

    Finally I good use for my mega-church, mega-worship CD’s.

  7. Joe says:

    that explains why there aren’t any birds in my office…

  8. ED... says:

    I suppose some people like it.

  9. Sophie says:

    At the moment I’m trying to find an alternative to your average christian musical fayre, and am thinking about getting some music from the iona community. I find music really helpful as an aid to prayer, but find that some of my old CDs do my nut! Any suggestions welcome!

  10. Becky says:

    It’s very telling that Proost products are nowhere to be found on this tree …

  11. they have the same effect on me as well.

  12. Pat says:

    Hopefully Iona Community ones wouldn’t be either :)

    Sophie – if you are looking for ones as an aid to prayer then maybe one of the ‘shorter songs’ CDs is the place to start – so ‘There is One Among Us’ or ‘Come All You People’. ‘One is the Body’ is a good general mix – it has some wee songs, some more hymny type ones, and a good selection from the world church. ‘Psalms of Patience, Protest and Praise’ is just what it says on the label – John Bell’s very beautiful, provocative and very singable versions of 24 of the psalms. ‘Sent by the Lord’ and ‘Many and Great’ are both collections of songs from around the globe – varied and again, very singable.

  13. PeterP says:

    I’m sure the ones in trees round here have a more spirit-oriented purpose – but I’ve never thought to see what the CDs actually had recorded on them…

  14. Mike_maple says:

    Sophie,

    Love Celtic christian music myself, but have you tried Taize Chants? Brilliant aid to prayer, especially the quieter ones such as Nada te turbe, Bless the lord my soul, Confitemini domino and Dona Nobis Pacem. Also good are the various chants by Margaret Rizza.

    Have you ever used Pray-as-you-go? I use that regularly as a basis for my prayer, and they use Iona style music, Taize chants and Margaret Rizza among others – it’s good even just as a taster of the different types of prayer-compatible music

    http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/

  15. Robb says:

    Jon -“yeh sorry for the inconsistency in posts. still not quite sorted with internet, but getting there. been offline for 48 hrs or so. boo!”

    But when am I supposed to sleep if I have to be alert at 4AM and 10AM?
    :lol:

    I have no problem with Christian Music. I have a problem with Christianmusic TM. It is a genre all of it’s own. I want to hear rock that is by Christians or Ska that is by Christians. What is this random genre that only exists in Wesley Owen? Why aren’t these guys producing music that people would listen to in any other context?

    Why is it that bands like the Orange County Supertones are the exception rather than the rule. Why a wishy washy badly produced acoustic nonsense?

    Why God Whhhhhhhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy???!!!!

    That feels better!

  16. why does Christian praise and worship music always have to sound like an Abba tribute band covering Keane/Coldplay/U2 songs… badly ?

  17. I can think of less expensive ways of doing that. I mean it would be much cheaper to go to Fopp and buy the CDs there…

  18. Mike_maple says:

    OK, so I know that modern worship music can sometimes be cheesy and even offensive to the ear, but I for one like it used in my church. Hymn based services don’t usually inspire me – although I do like many of the popular hymns, most seem too old fashioned in style and content to reach people today.

    I do feel rather frustrated though that modern worship seems to be all written from an evangelical perspective. IMHO, unless Anglo-catholics and the like start commissioning and using similar music with their theological bent, it will only speed decline.

    I’m not suggesting that we completely ditch hymns by the way – the baptist church I currently attend mixes modern and traditional styles of music in every service, which seems to work well.

    What does everybody else think?

  19. Robb says:

    Mike Maple – I’m with you on that one. I just introduced a monastic community to my guitar!

    Speaking as one who lives in an Anglo Catholic context, most of my contemporaries are hell bent on propagating the victorian hymnody. I even have friends who would say that “consubstantial coeternal” needs to stay because “people need to be brought up to this level not dumbed down to”. I have an MA in theology and I am still confused as to what most of this means. I pointed out that my cousin who has brain damage will never be able to be “brought up to this level”…

    …to no avail.

    There are some Anglo Catholics who use modern styles of music within worship. It is not normative though.

    I did once witness charismatic Roman Catholacism. It was a bit like Spring Harvest with Benediction. Wonderful :D

  20. subo says:

    I have also found Iona songs to be powerful, to be about experiences similar to mine, and to celebrate the reality of my faith in a dynamic way

    I just wish I had a context in Bristol, where people were into this stuff – it’s so much more earthy than the songs used in my church

    for me, music engages with something in my soul, that words alone miss. I also really enjoy the communal experience of worshiping with a group

  21. Carole says:

    Becky @ 9 – I think if you take a look around the back of the tree you’ll find a USB pen drive with a few downloads on…. ;)

  22. Joe says:

    i would like to hear more worship music that sounds like Glen Hansard (of ‘Once’ fame and leader of The Frames). I imagine that King David sounded that heart wrenching and passionate when singing some of his psalms…

  23. Laura says:

    I thought those were donuts. dang…I’m hungry now. ;-)

  24. jonbirch says:

    “I think if you take a look around the back of the tree you’ll find a USB pen drive with a few downloads on”… hahaha!!! :lol:
    the only thing i can possibly say is… our stuff’s half the price… so you can frighten away the birds at much less cost! :-)

  25. Carole says:

    …and cheap at twice the price, Jon. :)

  26. youthworkerpete says:

    My big issue with Christian CDs isn’t their cheeseyness (we all like a bit of cheese now and then, huh?) but the frankly terrible production quality. A few hundered years ago Christians were at the cutting edge of most art forms – now we desperately try to keep up with the world.

    Given the huge resources of the American church, why does so much guff get released?

  27. youthworkerpete says:

    My big issue with Christian CDs isn’t their cheeseyness (we all like a bit of cheese now and then, huh?) but the frankly terrible production quality. A few hundred years ago Christians were at the cutting edge of most art forms – now we desperately try to keep up with the world.

    Given the huge resources of the American church, why does so much guff get released?

  28. youthworkerpete says:

    lol – sorry for the double posting.

    It’s a Freudian way of saying LOOK AT ME!!!!!

  29. dennis says:

    Although with Proost you get a great deal with subscriptions!

    Something Kev & Ana Draper said to me years ago has always stuck with me is to “grow your own” and I don’t mean mary jane.

    Yeah they said grown your own music that way it has more authenticity.

    Does anyone remember Stryper!? or Triumph, now they were cool.

  30. theseoldshades says:

    I still have my Soul Survivor style music on my iPod (though the CDs have been long since left behind) so they come up on shuffle. Bit strange to hear them nowadays when I have changed so much.

    Mike_maple: My problem with that kind of music is, as you say, that is from a evangelical perspective so tends to have a very certain theology or be ‘Jesus you’re my boyfriend’ style words. I could be much more receptive to if it *said* something, or called us to work on social justice rather than just being feel good. Though of course, songs expressing our love for God are very important too! Everything in moderation.

    Thankyou for the link to the pray-as-you-go, very interesting. I find it very hard to just sit down and read my Bible and study/pray these days because I spend so much time reading course books it can be hard to step away from that so I find auditory stuff very helpful. I think I shall start listening on the way to lectures to help me prepare for the day :)

  31. jonbirch says:

    do you mean the content is cheap, or the price, carole? :-)

  32. jonbirch says:

    glad you’re happy dennis. proost has a kind of ‘grow your own’ (not mj) mentality. me and jonny do it cos it’s fun. it’s become a lot of hard work type fun, but glad to know someones using it. :-)

  33. Robb says:

    Do we not use the words “JC is my bf” too much when complaining about modern music?

    Seperate Q is it not related to the fact that women are now more involved (praise the lord)?

  34. Rainer says:

    I can tolerate some of the worship music in church (and actually enjoy a few songs on occasion), but I simply can not listen to canned worship on a CD!

    I think I will just leave those in the store since I have no trees in the yard to hang them on.

  35. Carole says:

    Jon, I mean you and the Proost ‘collective’ as always, show a tremendous generosity both of spirit and of your innumerable talents. I may add…gush, gush…that the odd Proost purchase resides on my i-Pod. And may I also take the opportunity to plug your own fab little alternative nativity vid – I know a lot of my fellow ASBOers will be preparing services over the Advent/Christmas season and may want something a little bit different to make their communities think. The animations on Proost are particularly good value at under £2 – a mere snip! So if you are looking for something a bit quirky and thought-provoking this Christmas, just click on the link in the blogroll on the right of this page. You’ll be glad you did! :)

  36. Carole says:

    …it’s called ‘Silent Night’ innit?

  37. Pat says:

    theseoldshades (30): ‘Everything in moderation’. Yes, I think balance is the key here (as in many things). Historically, the sung elements of Christian gatherings served a variety of functions. So, not just praising God but also things like the rehearsing and exploring of the Christian stories of God, creation, incarnation, redemption etc (think of the supporters of Arius and Ambrose marching through the streets of Constantinople singing hymns setting out their rival theologies !), or articulating a response to these through individual and collective self-offering.

    But some of these elements have got rather mislaid these days (at least in some sections of church); so the musical element of christian gathering has become almost exclusively associated with the’praise’component – with a consequent loss of content relating to other aspects of faith and life (and where they do address the christian narrative, the focus is very narrow). So we sing endless songs of the ‘Jesus I give myself to you’ variety, and none which explore what that might actually mean for me, here and now in my life as I live it out in pomo world. I think this is a huge loss – for all sorts of reasons.

    Having said that, there are some really good contemporary hymns about which do attempt to recover some of these lost ways of using the musical element.

  38. dennis says:

    I think you have done some kind of subliminal message thing with the Proost material as my iPhone insists on randomly playing “abide with me” old hymns in dub, Its either that or God might be trying to communicate with me there cant be a problem with my phone because its apple.

  39. darrin says:

    this reminded me of a great little radio 4 broadcast called ‘The Strange Parallel World of Christian Pop’ about Christian pop music in the 60 and 70s. Apparently its a highy collectable (and expensive) genre.

    anyway if you are interested (and it really is worth a listen) there is a link here > http://www.liv.ac.uk/~qe04/crossbeats/bbcr4.htm

    enjoy

  40. Sophie says:

    Thanks Pat and Mike_maple for your kind suggestions. It’s really helpful to have some pointers! I had no idea really which Iona CDs to go for so your descriptions are great.

    A friend recommended pray as you go, and I was looking at it last night, I’m yet to try it, but think I might give it a go this week. I saw http://www.other6.com/ as well which is a really cool way to think about where God bubbles up the other 6 days of the week.

    I’ve also got some comtemplative prayer and molten meditations form Proost which are really helpful. Thanks again! I’ll let you know how I get on.

  41. andy amoss says:

    For what it’s worth, the thing that strikes me in the image is the ‘hanging from trees’ element; the being hung and crucifixion resonnances.

    The CDs, i would perceive, as symbols of the whole of our Christian pop-sub-culture, which i (personally) attempt to crucify in a bid to encounter and point out God / the kingdom of God in the ‘world’.

  42. Caroline Too says:

    my sister, who I love dearly, recently gave me a Kathryn Jenkins tape

    I’m not sure why

    my musical tastes range from prog rock (Genesis, Pink Floyd) through
    to Folk rock (levellers and waterboys) with some 90s indie
    (eg Ocean Colour Scene)

    but nowhere will you find any middle of the road mush as I found
    on that CD… it isn’t just the evangelly babies who produce lousy
    music!

    Taize works for me, I bet Iona (community and band) music would
    be good) but I tend to pen my own songs, so they emerge as I wrestle
    through issues that are puzzling me.. don’t think that I’ll win any
    prizes or recording contracts but it works as a worship/wrestling process.

  43. jonbirch says:

    hey, thanks for the plugs guys ‘n’ girls! and thanks for the nice comments. proost are doing 9 lessons and carols for december… movies, tracks, blessings etc. at a snip…
    the best thing about doing proost is finding all the young creative talent, writers, musicians, artists, animators etc… there’s plenty of ‘em out there making great work! :-)

    as carole so kindly pointed out. the proost link is to the side of the blog. check it out, you might find it useful… on the other hand… :-)

    making stuff helps me wrestle also caroline too. maybe that’s partly what this blog’s about. :-) btw… anything we can hear?

  44. sophie @ 9 I listen to classical or gregorian chant in my reflective/prayer times. Anything that has words I can get a grip on distracts me….or drives me mad when I find myself singing mindlessly along to.

  45. Sophie says:

    Thanks Botticelliwoman, I’ll give that a go too. I like to sing along to things, but find that I don’t necessarily beleive what I’m singing sometimes, so maybe no words is the way to go!

  46. Becky says:

    21. Very telling that the Proost stuff is hidden – the good Godtuff is always hard to spot.

  47. matybigfro says:

    Maybe i’m mad but i think i prefered it when worship music was bad or at least ruff
    I mean really garage clunky production fledgling song writting skills

    atleast then it was easily bashable and people liked it cos of the heart not the dress

    Now i’ll be watching james morrison on telly or snow patrol and think it sounds like hillsong of soul survivor, its all glitzy and glam and worship leaders are like rockstars.

    I was trying to work out whether worship music has been ahead of the game or whether having spent all the time since U2 joshua tree getting the U2 joshuea tree sound now that it’s cool gain they sound like they’re ‘with it’

    I can’t work out what it is but the better ‘youthy’ worship music has got technically the greater my dislike for it has become

  48. Robb says:

    You don’t have to be rich or act like a rock star to produce good music. Worship leaders acting like rockstars are invariably deluding themselves about what they think they are doing.

    We had a bunch of punky teenagers in our congregation. They were not encouraged to use what they had… so they left and went on to form a band regularly giging the area. They would have been doing that anyway… but now it is all they do.

    “Worship music sounds like this”

    I once had a trainee vicar of the charismatic leaning once tell me “if it doesn’t have an acoustic guitar then it isn’t worshipful…

    I clearly remember where that comes from – the book of… somewhere in the apocrypha? Help me out here.

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