Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Reformation Day

On this day back in 1517, Martin Luther changed the world (and that's not an exaggeration) by tacking up 95 objections to the Roman Catholic church. Tony at the Shepherd's Scrapbook has a good quote regarding the Reformation:
“… we need to realize that the Reformers saw nothing less than the gospel at stake. We sometimes forget what Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and others risked in taking a stand for the gospel. They risked their very lives. Regarding the Reformers’ work as nothing more than sowing seeds of unfortunate division shows both little knowledge of and little respect for what they did. They were human, and they had their faults and shortcomings. They sinned, sometimes greatly. But they also, like the imperfect characters of the Bible, were used greatly by God. In other words, the church should be grateful for the Reformation. And in this age of religious pluralism, theological laxity, and biblical illiteracy, perhaps the Reformation is needed more than ever before.” - Stephen J. Nichols, The Reformation: How a monk and a mallet changed the world (Crossway: 2007) p. 21

Sam Storms has a great post entitled "Celebrating the Reformation: A Lesson on God's Sovereignty over Human Sin"

In his post, he shares some great thoughts about Thomas Cranmer and it piqued my interest. I found a great audio biography of Cranmer presented by Jim Hamilton at the 2007 Bunyan Conference.

You can listen to that biography here.

As always, Tim Challies has his Reformation Day Symposium up.

*Added on 11/01/07-
Read or listen to John Piper's biographical message on Martin Luther.

We ended the day by taking the kids (dressed as adorable CareBears) out for some treats and hanging with some friends. On to November!

Now playing: Radiohead - House Of Cards

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Reformation Study Bible- get your Luther on!

Tomorrow is Reformation Day and to celebrate, Ligonier Ministries is offering a copy of their Reformation Study Bible for the deliciously low price of $15.17 (a package of stale Refor-ween candy for the person who can tell me the significance of the number 1517. And no, it has nothing to do with LOST or Radiohead.)

Using the English Standard Version as it's base translation, the
The Reformation Study Bible "contains a modern restatement of Reformation truth in its comments and theological notes. Its purpose is to present the light of the Reformation afresh."

Go here for more details about the RSB and its contributors.


Friday, October 26, 2007

WTS Booksale

WTS Books is having a really great book sale over the next week.

Check it out here.

I would heartily recommend:
Though I haven't read it (yet) the just-released, much anticipated Pierced For Our Transgressions is also on sale. You can download (pdf) the intro (by John Piper) and first chapter here.

There are lots of other great selections there, so be sure to check them out.


Jesus Storybook Bible- Pt. 2

As I have mentioned in the past, we at the Downey house are big fans of Sally Lloyd-Jones' book The Jesus Storybook Bible.

When I wrote last, we had just gotten our copy of it and were looking forward to enjoying the book. Well, TJSB is now a regular part of our evening activities and our daughter Adelaide is constantly asking us to read to her from "my Jesus Book."

I cannot think of a book I would more highly recommend to parents and I have been raving about to everyone who will lend an ear. It's theologically solid, the illustrations are wonderful, and the way each story is told often leaves me misty eyed.

WTS Books is selling the book for the next week (or until they sell out of them) for the great price of $8.50. We're going to be getting multiple copies for Christmas gifts and I would encourage you to do the same.

Head on over and check out The Jesus Storybook Bible.

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Radiohead- 01 & 10

While I'm not sure that it was done intentionally, OK Computer and In Rainbows sound really good together.

Check this out for more details.

Basically, you can combine OKC and IR into a tracklist, add some crossfade between the songs and you are in for 100 minutes of beautiful music that sounds like it was supposed to be played this way.

Here's the tracklist:

Radiohead - 01 and 10:
1. Airbag (OK Computer)
2. 15 Step (In Rainbows)
3. Paranoid Android (OK Computer)
4. Bodysnatchers (In Rainbows)
5. Subterranean Homesick Alien (OK Computer)
6. Nude (In Rainbows)
7. Exit Music (For A Film) (OK Computer)
8. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi (In Rainbows)
9. Let Down (OK Computer)
10. All I Need (In Rainbows)
11. Karma Police (OK Computer)
12. Fitter Happier (OK Computer)
13. Faust Arp (In Rainbows)
14. Electioneering (OK Computer)
15. Reckoner (In Rainbows)
16. Climbing Up The Walls (OK Computer)
17. House Of Cards (In Rainbows)
18. No Surprises (OK Computer)
19. Jigsaw Falling Into Place (In Rainbows)
20. Lucky (OK Computer)
21. Videotape (In Rainbows)
22. The Tourist (OK Computer)

Now playing: Radiohead - Exit Music (For A Film)
via FoxyTunes

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Mike Huckabee- Does he have a snowball's chance?

Justin Taylor, Joe Carter and Matthew Anderson give their endorsement to Mike Huckabee.

Zach shares this clip (with inspiring Devotchka music behind it):

I'm not sure who I will support for president (or if they will be a Republican) but I have liked much of what I have heard from Huckabee. However, I am NOT a fan of his desire to implement a national smoking ban.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Matthew Smith- Free song

Matthew Smith is giving away a track from his latest album All I Owe and will donate to Blood:Water Mission to provide clean water to 1 person in Africa for 1 week every time someone downloads the song. The .zip bundle also includes a chord sheet for all you musician folk.

Check it out.

HT: Tim Challies


The beard is gone...

Almost all 6 months of my beard is now in the trash. I now look like a fat little kid. If I had a picture of my current face, you would agree.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Dear Sufjan Stevens

I know you are very busy these days getting ready for your newest endeavor, The BQE, and that song you did for the new Bob Dylan movie is great, but I am really looking forward to the release of your next album, or even any news about when it will be releasing. Please let me know when you'll be getting to that. Thanks!

A fan named Nate Downey.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing...or an earpiece to understand Russian

This past weekend Dallass and I, along with many friends from our church, attended the Desiring God regional conference "The Pleasures of God."

John Piper has been a significant influence in my life and it was a pleasure to see him preach/teach in person again. Dallass had only heard recordings of his preaching, so I think she particularly enjoyed seeing him in person.

The conference was held at the Bryte Russian Baptist Church in West Sacramento, just down the street from my beloved-in-laws. It was great to attend the conference and hang out with family on the same weekend. When I have gone to conferences in the past it's always in some city that I don't know and I end up only seeing the airport, where I am staying, the conference venue, a coffee shop, and some kind of restaurant/pub for meals. I guess I'm not the most adventurous cat in the world.

As you may have noticed, I mentioned that the conference was in a Russian church. We have driven by BRBC so many times and I've always wanted to go, but I have been intimidated by the whole I-don't-speak-Russian thing. The conference itself was in English, but the church had Russian signage all over, the song leader (Brother Nicoly) had a pleasantly heavy Russian accent (I would have loved to hear him say "I will break you" Rocky IV style), and many attendees had the earpieces in that magically translate words like "intra-trinitarian" into their appropriate Russian counterpart, which sounds something like "bob."

Encouraged by the multilingual fun (there were also American Sign Language interpreters for the deaf- yes!) of Friday and Saturday, we decided to attend the church on Sunday morning since Piper would be preaching there on Sunday morning. I spoke to one of the youth kids who were helping out with the conference and he kindly told me that "Ah...yes. You can come toomoorow and you able to get earpiece and understand...ahhhh...yes. No problem for you!"

We arrived on Sunday morning at the church ready to rock, Russian style. As we walked through the parking lot, we noticed that we were severely under dressed. As in, we looked like a family of homeless vagrants who decided to go to church and threw on whatever clothing was closest to the top of the shopping cart. Our church is quite casual when it comes to dress and...well, let's just say the folks of BRBC know how put on their Sunday best.

When we got inside we were escorted into the sanctuary. Unfortunately they didn't have any more KGB ear pieces so we had to guess what was happening during the speaking portions of the worship time. They had a great choir (and I am a sucker for lovely Russian church singing- Rachmaninoff's Vespers is one of my favorite pieces to listen to), a barbershop quartet singing in English (heavily accented English), a youth band, and combinations of soloists and the choir. Piper preached a great sermon and then we sang together with the church of Jesus as we closed the morning worship. Once again, I marveled at the beauty of diversity within the church that Jesus is growing for the sake of His name.

You can listen to the conference messages here.

You can visit BRBC's website here. It's all in Russian!

Listen to Rachmaninoff's Vespers.

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John Piper- The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

WTS Books- Lookin' good

WTS Books has updated their site and it's looking real nice. Head on over and check it out.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead Talks In Rainbows

Jonny talks In Rainbows.

Plus, you can see some fantastic album art for In Rainbows.

Love it!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Radiohead- In Ranbows- Thoughts from an amateur

Here's my song by song thoughts on the new Radiohead album In Rainbows:

15 Step- Love the guitar riff and the effect on the vocal is perfect. Great opening song; it gets you excited for the rest of the album.

Bodysnatchers- Hard to believe, but it's really the only "rocker" of the album (though it doesn't feel out of place). Solid song, some tasty guitar licks.

Nude- Weird name. It seems like a song that's this good would have a better name. Thom's voice is really good on this one...The texture of the strings really brings the song from good to great.

Weird Fish/Arpeggio- Good funky song, excellent drum/bass line to start it out. Thom's vocal carries this song quite well. I think that the song lands right where it should in the track order.

All I Need- Beautiful- might end up being my favorite. Slow, vulnerable, haunting...beautiful. The crescendo at the end is really moving.

Faust Arp- Sweet groove on this one...the acoustic guitar was surprising to me but it worked well. Strings arrangements are fantastic again. They can pretty much do whatever they want and it works.

Reckoner- Probably the best song on the album. Brilliant intro...I love the guitars on this album. I guess that's Jonny G...Thom's voice comes in at the perfect time and then the percussion drops out a bit as the piano comes in. Definitely a song that needs both headphones. This could be a single I think...a single that helps people learn to love good music and stop listening to things that decrease their capacity for beauty.

House of Cards- I don't wanna be your friend/I just wanna be your lover/No matter how it ends/No matter how it starts. I can't think of any Radiohead song that opens with lyrics that I actually get. Again, the strings/guitars are brilliant.

Jigsaw Falling Into Place- Classic Radiohead chords/structure. This sounds more like Radiohead than anything else I have heard so far...I like the humming riff that underlays the entire song. Another great song.

Videotape- Lovely piano intro....and I like the bass. Haunting vocal, love the repeating "...a videotape..." This is a perfect closing song, though I would have liked it if they built it a little more before ending it with the piano.

Overall thoughts: This album is fantastic. The use of strings, the order of the songs, the beautiful melodies, the reverb-y vocals that work so many things that I can't adequately articulate. This release has leap frogged Iron & Wine's The Shepherd's Dog for my album of the year (so far).

It seems to be more accessible than anything they've done since The Bends, maybe ever. It reminds of what Wilco did with Sky Blue Sky this year- a critically acclaimed band that is known for complex, off-the-wall songs putting out an album full of really great sounding, but fairly simple, songs. Some people aren't going to like In Rainbows and wish that it was more inventive or progressive and say that the band's gone soft. Meanwhile, most people will be thoroughly enjoying an album full of great songs that should be treasured. I will be relaxing with the latter group.

Also read Pitchfork's feature page on In Rainbows.

"Buy" the album here.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Free books? Possibly. Sign here!

Alright friends...once again, I am asking you to help me out. Same deal as last time: click on the link and help me increase my chances to get free books.

As he did last month, Tim Challies is doing a book give-away over at his site. Here are the prizes:
  • First prize: One case (Forty copies!) of The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul along with a copy of Jesus the Evangelist by Richard Phillips (retail value of over $600- not too shabby).
  • Second prize: One copy of Jesus the Evangelist by Richard Phillips and admission for two to the Ligonier Ministries 2008 National Conference, Evangelism According to Jesus.
  • Third Prize: One copy of Jesus the Evangelist by Richard Phillips and admission for two to the Ligonier Ministries 2008 National Conference, Evangelism According to Jesus.
All you, esteemed friends of Nate Downey, have to do is enter your name and e-mail address and you are signed up for the book give-away. Sure you lose a little bit more of your online anonymity and I lose a little bit more of my soul (at least you don't have to worry about my turning the free books into Horcruxes), but books are involved here. Plus, Tim gives his word that all information will be kept strictly confidential and will not be given away or sold to anyone, anytime for any reason.

So here's what you can do to show me your love: in the next 10 days, click on the banner below and sign up!

October Giveaway

If you want, you can send this link to your friends, family, work associates, etc.

And remember, every time you click on the Westminster Books icon on the right side of my blog, you help me earn free books also.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

BEIRUT - In the Mausoleum from The Flying Club Cup

This is an example of why I love the band Beirut. This is the song "In the Mausoleum" from their upcoming album The Flying Club Cup (you can watch more videos here). The track sounds better on the album but I love watching this video. want to hear more? Well, go visit their Myspace page and you can stream the whole album...except for the song in the video above. Why is that? I don't know, but the rest of the album is also quite good. Enjoy it my friends.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

ESV Literary Study Bible

About a month ago I heard rumours (Fleetwood Mac anyone?) of a new bible that Crossway was putting out called the Literary Study Bible (henceforth referred to as the LSB). The LSB has now been released and due to an abundance of gift cards I should be getting mine any day now.

Based on the English Standard Version translation of the Bible, the LSB is a study bible that "...approaches the Bible as literature and shows how the application of literary tools of analysis helps tremendously in reading and understanding the Bible. Readers are introduced to the literary features of each book of the Bible and to each section within each book...this is truly a reader’s Bible."

The LSB was edited by Dr. Leland Ryken and his son Dr. Philip Graham Ryken. Ryken Sr. is a literary scholar (he work as literary stylist for the ESV) and has written many books about reading the Bible as literature. Ryken Jr. is author of several books and a pastor in Philadelphia.

Tony at The Shepherd's Scrapbook shared his excited thoughts and a detailed review of this forthcoming Bible. Here are some quotes from his review (but you should definitely read the whole thing):

"The premiere benefit of the LSB is viewing Scripture as literature, without reducing Scripture to the level of
mere literature."

"By viewing Scripture first as literature (and secondarily as theological content to fill a systematic outline), something important surfaces. Scripture is experienced."

"It occurs to me that once we experience literature, literature becomes integrated into our experience. For example, Augustine’s Confessions are saturated with the Psalms because the Psalms saturated Augustine’s experience. The LSB encourages me to further experience Scripture by using the literary composition as a door into experiencing the text for myself."

Here are some more informative links regarding the LSB.

ESV Literary Study Bible website- You can learn more about the features, read the preface, browse the entire text online, and learn more about the editors Ryken.

Listen to/read an interview with Leland Ryken regarding the LSB (again, from Tony at TSS)

WTS Books interview with the Ryken's about the LSB

The suggested retail for the LSB is $49.99 but WTS Books has it for $29.99 (plus 5 bucks shipping- flat rate, so buy some more books while you're at it), a fantastic deal. I hope to be getting mine soon and I will post some more thoughts once it arrives.