Catching Up: Disaster Relief, Assisted Suicide, The Bones of Saint Peter, and Other Topics

2.-Writing-furiouslyby John Ellis

This last week has been a busy writing week. I have written eleven articles that have been published, and three that will probably be published today or tomorrow (and I owe my editor one more article this week). My article about the Southern Baptist Convention’s Disaster Relief Team has done very well. I don’t have a view-count, but the article has been shared on Facebook 70,000 times!

If you are interested in reading any the articles below, click on the title and you will be redirected. Thank you for reading.

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The Best Albums Released During JFK’s Presidency

john-f-kennedy

by John Ellis

PJ Media has asked me to rewrite an older series of mine in which I ranked the albums of each of the past eleven presidents. This time, instead of beginning with IKE, I started with JFK. Since President Trump hasn’t even been an office for a year, I’ll be ending with President Obama. That means only ten presidents this time. The series will conclude with an article ranking those ten presidents based on the music released during their time in office. Click the link below to see what I believe are the best albums released during JFK’s time in office. Enjoy. And let me know which albums you believe that I left off.

https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2017/08/11/the-best-albums-of-the-jfk-presidency/

Music to Play for Your Baby While She Naps

sleeping-baby-girl

by John Ellis

If you are a new parent, you should be terrified! Raising your new baby is a one-shot deal, and, statistically speaking, you are going to mess that one shot up. Every choice you make from here on out is going to help determine whether your cute baby will end up as a CEO of a Fortune 500 Company or sporting a face tattoo while doing time in a federal penitentiary. Considering that there are far more people sporting face tattoos inside of federal penitentiaries than there are who are CEO’s of Fortune 500 Companies, there is a much, much greater likelihood that your new baby is going to end up a felon rather than a CEO. Thankfully, I’m here to help.

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The 10 Best Hymns of All Time

hymnal

by John Ellis

Ranking hymns was supposed to be easy. When the idea first came to me, I assumed that minimal effort would be required (both in thought and in execution), and that the end result would yield high reward (page clicks and discussion). While I have yet to discover if the second half of my assumption is correct, the first half has proven laughably wrong. There are several reasons for that: 1. There are a lot of excellent hymns out there. 2. Choosing what I believe are the best hymns of all time seems weighted with far more import than when I’m ranking the pop music released during the administration of President Ronald Reagan, for example. 3. Every single person I asked, listed different songs than those I was considering. 4. I don’t hold to as clearly defined and strict of a definition of “hymn” as hymnody nerds do. Strangely, the opinions of hymnody nerds actually matter to me. And, 5. My pastor (boss) reads what I write, and if I choose incorrectly, he will be sure to let me know. Probably over and over. In front of people. I am risking scorn by ranking the best hymns of all time.

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Lead Me Home by Jill Phillips: A Beautiful Collection of Hymns

jill-phillipsby John Ellis

I love hymns. However, that wasn’t always the case. I’ve always loved listening to music, but, more often than not, over the course of my life, that music was far afield from the hymn genre. While I’m not sure if it’s a product of having reached middle-age or my sanctification (probably both), I find myself listening to hymns more and more. Not only is the artistry in hymns rich, but the message of that artistry is often directly connected to a robust theology. While recognizing that all good art glorifies God, there is something satisfying about drinking from the majestic artistic well filled with songs written for the explicit purpose of magnifying the name of God.

In order to feed my growing appetite for hymns, I remain on the lookout for albums that feature mostly hymns. Which, oddly, has proven more difficult of a task than I would’ve guessed a few years ago. Thankfully, this past December, at Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God concert, I was introduced to Jill Phillips who had recently released Lead Me Home, an album of hymns and gospel songs.

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The Narrative by Sho Baraka and Lifeway’s Censorship

sho-baraka

by John Ellis

At the onset, allow me to confess that I know very little about hip-hop culture or hip-hop music. Two things I do know, however, are Jesus and words, specifically words crafted into a story. This is why I’m comfortable stating that The Narrative by Sho Baraka is a compelling, nuanced, and thought provoking story that has Jesus at its center; that’s hard to find and should be valued. Sadly, as one of the largest Christian retailers in the world, Lifeway has decided to remove The Narrative from its shelves. But I want to talk about the Sho Baraka’s latest album before diving into the murky world of Christian retailers and their aesthetic responsibility.

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The Best Country Songs of the 90s

garth-brooks

by John Ellis

In high school, there were essentially two types of music that I liked – the music that I liked when whatever girl I was dating was not around, and the music that I liked when whatever girl I was dating was around. Generally, the second classification included lots of country music, and the first included lots of grunge and metal. Looking back, I now realize the truth of Dream a Little Dream. Starring the two Coreys, the movie contains a scene in which the tension between the different high school factions comes to a violent head. Before the violence can extend past undoing, Corey Haim’s character pleads that one day, they will all look back and forget that they were enemies; they will one day view each other as high school friends. In other words, the John Ellis that loved grunge and metal was friends with the John Ellis that loved country music and Richard Marx. I can see that now.

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