Archives For Andreas Barrett

Andreas Barrett is not only a deeply cherished friend who was their by my hospital bedside to mouth kiss me as soon as I came out surgery, he’s also a rarely gifted musician. His band with my congregant John Jackson (himself a Jeff Tweedy doppelgänger) is called Seven Mile Walk and they just released an album that you should check out.

The songs are thematically diverse. They embrace faith and express fear/doubt (The Labyrinth) while touching on specific scriptural passages (Burning in Our Hearts, Mary Anoints Jesus), regional news events (In His Name—Virginia Tech massacre) and global/social need and…justice (Clean Water/In Unity/Blessed to Give).

Andreas can literally play anything and it shows on the album. The music is stylistically varied and features bluegrassy textures (the Charles Wesley remix Wrestling Jacob), uptempo AOR, and transparent ballads. Rich vocal harmonies are present throughout. Some songs on the CD (The Jesus Creed), as well as many throughout the SMW catalog, are a product of works featured by friends of this blog like Scot McKnight, Brian Zahnd, Lauren Winner, and Thomas Lynch.

You can find it in iTunes and purchase on Amazon here.

 

 

Skeptical BelieverI know ‘apophatic’ is a mouth full.

Also called the ‘negative way,’ apophatic theology asserts that God (because God is transcendence itself) is essentially and absolutely unknowable. In addition, because we’re finite sinners we’re constantly prone to cast our projections, assumptions and images upon God, rendering God in our image rather than vice versa.

For this reason, apophatic theology is an attempt to strip away our anthropomorphizing of God by confessing what God is NOT rather than assuming what God is.

 

So rather than saying ‘God is mighty’ we profess that ‘God is not hate.’

Instead of calling God Father we first confess that ‘God is not male.’

Rather than praise ‘Our God is an awesome God’ we sing ‘God is not evil.’

While the apophatic tradition is prominent in all the theistic religions of the world, particularly Islam for what should be obvious reasons, Maximus the Confessor and the Pseudo Dionysius are its most noteworthy Christian practitioners.

I mentioned apophatic theology recently in a worship planning meeting, in anticipation of our Skeptical Believer sermon series. In fact, I commented/observed how apophatic theology flies in the face of most over-confident, anthropomorphized evangelicalism and thus is nearly 100% absent from the airwaves of contemporary Christian music.

Andreas Barrett, our resident bard, took my off the cuff remarks on a Mystical, Medieval tradition and wrote up a song that might’ve made Maximus the Confessor smile (doubtful actually, I mean…you can’t have a very good sense of humor if your name ends in Confessor).

295024_10151240304491769_259193053_nAnyway, here’s the song. The lyrics at least. The music’s an upbeat, fiddle-led country tune:

Heaven’s Knot  ♦  Words and music by Andreas Barrett

I don’t know what you are, but do I need to know? 

I may have once upon a time, but I forgot. 

Now your ways are unknown, but I’ll always be your own, 

All the while I’ll be untangling heaven’s knot

Heaven’s not a place to cry, 

Heaven’s not the stars and sky, 

Heaven’s not a place just past the pearly gates.

I don’t know what you are and though it may appear bizarre, 

I will follow where your mystery awaits.

I don’t know what you are and I may never know; 

Sometimes just a clue would hit the spot. 

But when the truth is unseen, I will still know what it means; 

All the while I’ll be untangling heaven’s knot.

Heaven’s not a place to hate, 

You can’t put that on heaven’s plate. 

Heaven’s no eternal isolation zone.

I don’t know what you’ll be, but it’s pretty clear to me: 

Heaven’s not a place for us to feel alone.

Heaven’s not a place to cry, 

Heaven’s not the stars and sky, 

Heaven’s not a place just past the pearly gates.

I don’t know what you are and though it may appear bizarre, 

I will follow where your mystery awaits. 

I will follow where your mystery awaits.

 

295024_10151240304491769_259193053_nTurns out, a whole lot of people didn’t realize Jesus had siblings.

They pop up in several places in the Gospels and they’re mentioned in the Epistles as well.

Luke in the Book of Acts makes clear that one of them was at the very center of the church. But they’re almost completely missing from today’s Church’s worship music.

(The cynic in me would argue that’s because Jesus is missing from today’s Church’s worship music too- because the songs are all, really, about us.)

I guess this could be a function of how much emphasis Christians place on Jesus’ divinity to the exclusion of his humanity. Maybe it’s simply easier to push Jesus’ other siblings to the side (just like we do with Joseph, those siblings’ father) than wrestle with the paradox the incarnation.

Indeed Catholic Dogma, which believes in the perpetual virginity of Mary, pushes them so far aside it pushes them right out of Jesus’ immediate family, insisting the word translated ‘brothers and sisters’ in most New Testaments really means ‘cousins.’ But it doesn’t. The New Testament has a word for ‘cousins’

Cousins.

James as in the ‘Letter of’ is the most famous of Jesus’ siblings. At some point after Easter, James went from bystander to disciple to leader in the Jerusalem Church. He was eventually condemned by the Sanhedrin, like Jesus, and was stoned to death.

We mentioned James at several points during our worship service this past weekend, and due the dearth of James-mentioning music, our worship leader, Andreas Barrett wrote a bluegrass song: Jesus and James (Brother of Mine).

I’m sorry I don’t have audio of it but thought you might appreciate the lyrics:

Jesus and James (Brother of Mine) ♦ Music and Words by Andreas Barrett

 

Looking back on the days when you and I were made,

Who’d have thought that things would turn out like they did?

We were two peas in a pod, but only one the son of God;

Who’d have thought that you were more than just a kid?

 

Brother, you could be a thorn in my side

But Jesus, I remember how we laughed until we cried.

 

Only caring for today, childhood carried us away

And we followed each adventure where it went.

Telling secrets just for two, but time is fleeting so it flew

And in a moment all our innocence was spent.

 

We would run and play just like the rest,

Never knowing growing up would put us to the test.

 

Brother, O brother of mine,

Sometimes you confuse me, but I’ll always toe the line.

I’ll tell the world my brother is divine, vine, vine—

Jesus, save a place for me, ‘cause I don’t mind.

 

When I ranted, you would turn; I had so much more to learn

In a world that soon would never be the same.

While you breathed, I lived a lie; now you’re breathless. 

So am I, ’cause nothing’s left to do but take the blame.

 

We would live and love just like our friends,

Growing older, sowing the beginning of the end.

 

I saw blood and water flow from your side;

Jesus, now you’ll never be denied.

 

Brother, O brother of mine,

Sometimes you confuse me, but I’ll always toe the line.

I’ll tell the world my brother is divine, vine, vine—

Jesus, save a place for me, ‘cause I don’t mind.

 

Brother, O brother of mine,

Sometimes you drive me crazy, but I’ll never draw the line.

You bled for me and now I’m gonna die, die, die—

I’ll see you, Jesus, on the other side.

100 Foreskins: A Love Song

Jason Micheli —  August 13, 2012 — 1 Comment

We’re week #2 in our sermon series, ‘Stories They Never Taught You in Sunday School.’ What do you do liturgically with a story about 100 Foreskins as the price of a wedding? Write a love song of course. Here’s the video from worship. Lyrics below from Jason and Andreas, our resident comic bards.

Also, included below is a ‘serious’ song to complement the theme, written by Andreas.

Michal/Music by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, words by Andreas Barrett and Jason Gottshall

 

Michal, King Saul

Has enticed me with his cunning call,

My Michal.

 

Michal, my dear,

I must walk the razor’s edge, I fear.

Let me be clear–

 

I love you, I love you, I love you

But I have got to say,

Though I will rise to circumcise

And no man will foil this mighty mohel, 

I feel for each one.

 

Michal, my love,

Help me now that push has come to shove—

Where are my gloves?

 

I need them, I need them, I need them

And have you seen my keys?

Hello, goodbyes to all those guys;

By expert craft, they’ll get the shaft—

You know what I mean.

 

I love you.

 

I want to, I want to, I want to

Or there is no reward.

To win your hand by Saul’s command,

I’ll commit these crimes one hundred times

So you’ll understand.

 

Michal, my sweet, 

You may find there is no meaner feat,

Let me repeat—

 

For our wedded bliss, we’ll have a bris

So you’ll understand,

My Michal.

Skin Deep (That’s What Love Is)  ♦  Words and music by Andreas Barrett

 

Love is patient, love is kind, but love can catch you from behind and cut you to the quick;

That’s what love is.

Love is humble, never cruel, but one exception to the rule can leave you reeling, feeling sick;

That’s what love is.

 

Grand designs can sometimes seem unfit,

But winning hands are joined by acts they may commit.

 

Is that what love is for?

Skin deep, love is only skin deep.

Is that what love is for?

Skin deep, love is only skin deep.

 

Love is longing, lovers bleed just to satisfy a need, a need that steals the soul;

That’s what love is.

Broken hearts are the refrain when fools will pay the same unending toll

To know what love is.

 

A house of cards can fall one hundred ways;

Ace to faces, truth erases what deceit conveys.

 

Is that what love is for?

Skin deep, love is only skin deep.

Is that what love is for?

Skin deep, love is only skin deep.