Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Five Cities that Ruled the World - A Book Review

I have always enjoyed big cities. They offer a large variety of multicultural events and a swarms of people from all over the world. When I heard about 5 Cities that Ruled the World by Douglas Wilson, I was excited about reading and reviewing it. I am not one to jump into reading historical books. I will watch documentaries about aspects of history, but my reading travels other directions for the most part. All that to say that reading this was a stretch. Unfortunately, it confirmed the reason why I don't do much reading of history. Excepting the occasional interesting anecdote about the cities (Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York) I was rather bored with the book. I felt cheated, wanting to know more than what I was given. The subtitle offered to answer how these cities shaped global history, but didn't deliver much substance. I would have felt better served had Wilson chosen to stay within the parameters of a specific aspect of global history, instead of jumping all over the board.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bluetree - God of this City

From the opening of this CD, I knew I was about to have a great musical, and spiritual, experience. The chorus of the first song "Life's Noise" says

He wasn't in the fire, He wasn't in the quake
He wasn't in the wind, He's in a whisper

This reference to 1 Kings 19 is amazing. I was just thinking this week about this part of Elijah's life. He has just witnessed the power of God over the prophets of Baal, yet he quickly falls into a period of depression and feelings of defeat and despair. I am no different. My spiritual life tends to be like a roller coaster with all of the ups and downs, turns and spins, upside downs and right side ups. I am encouraged that the great people of God in the Bible are just like me...normal and constantly wrestling with life.

Now, back to Bluetree. This band is from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I love Ireland, so the accent in the vocals immediately caught my attention. I had heard the title track on the radio and was struck by the chorus and overall message of the song.
There is none like our God
There is none like you God
For Greater things have yet to come
and greater things are still to be done in this city.
There is none like our God.
I asked myself, "Do I really believe that for my city?" and if so, "What am I doing to be a part of it?"
Occasionally a song will come out that really nails down what the church is to be about and what the hope of the Gospel is about. God of this City is one of these. Here is the video telling the story behind the song. It is amazing how God works in the most unlikely of places.

Some of you may have heard the song on the new Passion CD by the same title.

Great song and even greater CD by Bluetree.