Saturday, December 07, 2013

Christmas Fayre

Performing at the Morecambe Parish Church Christmas Festival.

It was a half hour slot in which I sang all Christmas songs apart from James Taylor's Sweet Baby James and a song I wrote which has an advent theme so it still counts. I sang a song I wrote 2 days ago as well as one I wrote last year and one I wrote over 10 years ago. The audience was small but appreciative and the sound was great especially when I sang Away in a Manger to the American preferred tune.

A nice intro to my Christmas.

Friday, December 06, 2013

My songs

I previously had the spoonfulofdreams domain pointing to SongRamp where many of my songs reside before repointing it here where I have a link to my Youtube account. So you can hear my songs on SongRamp and see and hear them on YouTube, here's the link to my SongRamp page.

You can also find some of my songs on Spotify and iTunes. Simply search for 'The Beauty of Grace'.

I really must get some more songs recorded professionally. Alas that will have to wait but maybe just till next year.

Where I Am Now

Its been a long time since I've contributed to my blog. It must be time to get back into the habit. Much has happened since I last wrote, notably the Lancaster Music Festival. Yes, I helped organise it - built and maintained the website, designed the posters, banners and brochure and put the brochure together. Then I performed over the weekend and did my bit in being part of the team. It was an amazing experience and to cap it all we won an award.

I think I can pretty well hang 2013 on the Festival; it was incredibly significant and will always be a mile stone for me. Earlier this year I left the church I'd helped to lead after I could no longer reconcile myself with the direction in which it was heading. Sometimes its not a matter of staying in order to be a positive influence especially when its taking all your energy to remain sane. It almost feels like I've abandoned everything I used to believe yet I've remained true to the faith.

Some of those held up as mentors and leaders I now consider bigots, fraudsters and hypocrites (I must stress that I'm talking about public figures rather than those of my acquaintance). I find it hard to believe how right wing much of the Evangelical church is - how pro establishment and unbiblical.

I've found my own way through the gay rights debate rather than simply jumping on the bandwagon or shutting up shop. The Bible can hardly be used to support gay rights but neither does it explicitly condemn homosexuality per se. It says much more in condemnation of those who insist on demonising and persecuting others on the basis of gender orientation. While I would defend those who sincerely cannot reconcile homosexuality with a biblical faith I would still challenge them to consider how much of their understanding is either based on culture or indoctrination.

Back to me: after years of developing and honing a platform for creating websites I now have something very close to a finished product which I'm very pleased with, not least because of its simplicity and compactness and also because the development has become really intuitive and I'm finally being able to save time rather than adding time because half of it is spent in debugging what was supposed to make life easier.

My guitar playing has come on in leaps and bounds but, ironically, I've given my guitar back to its rightful owner (long story) and gone back to mandolin. I'm finding that very refreshing and have no problem turning my back on the guitar for a season. In another twist of irony I wrote a new song on the guitar (which I borrowed back) two days ago. My experience at the Festival told me that despite improving my guitar technique I'd also plateaued. There really is no point in improving a broken model when there is a more productive route and I believe the mandolin provides that for me.

My life seems to go in 13's and I believe this year to be very significant, not because of what I've achieved but because of the possibilities it has opened up. There are still some pretty big rocks but they're not looking quite so unmovable.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Why Do I Grumble

You are my God
You are my Father
You train my hands
To turn the lathe
Transform my life
To match your likeness
In you alone
My life is saved

As Jesus slept
Rock for a pillow
No food to eat
No friend to share
He learned the hard way
No help or comfort
Until the angels
Met him there

You chose the way
That would destroy you
Knowing destruction
Would be destroyed
Hoping only
In truth and justice
No host of angels
Was deployed

You rose victorious
And sent your Spirit
The God of comfort
For my distress
But I have also
Your example
Life's bitter tests
Your righteousness

Why do I grumble
When life is easy?
Why do I doubt
When life is hard?
Where did I learn
You're there to please me?
Did I forget
You are my God?

© Chris Price 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Before You Buy…

So you get an email from a marketing guru. She tells you your life story like she’d been sitting next to you all these years. She knows exactly what walls you’ve been bashing your head on, what hurdles you’ve been knocking over and what weeds you can’t keep down. Maybe she gets you reading the blurb for 5 minutes, nodding your head and giving grunts of recognition as you acknowledge her total grasp of the situation. So, obviously, if she has such a good grasp of the situation then she’s probably got the answers lurking in her briefcase.

Now, is she a scam artist? No, she’s earning six figures practicing what she preaches and has helped scores of people to sort out their jumbled business lives. You’ll notice that as she explains some of the principles of running a successful business she keeps punctuating the proceedings with a reminder that she started out as ignorant as you. So how did she come by this wealth of wisdom and expertise? Well, of course she has tested all the angles and through trial and error it was almost inevitable that she would hit on some of the right answers somewhere along the line.

What is more certain is that most of the people who have bought into her program will just keep making the same mistakes and most of them will probably have not got any further than reading the course. Others will have been full of good intentions and may even have begun implementation but life is so hectic and urgent that these things always get left for when there is more time (and motivation). They will have read the no quibble money back guarantee but, knowing full well that failure was down to their lack of commitment rather than any fault in the program, they won’t exercise their quibbles.

So what is it that separates the success stories from the dust collectors? Inevitably it is those who persisted in their efforts to make the program work that really benefited but what of the placebo effect? Could it be that the program was secondary to the will to succeed? Is it possible that while the initial investment was not wasted, it was more the impetus than the content that contributed to their success? After all, the guru selling the program admitted her initial ignorance. It must have been her motivation and refusal to be blinded by science that drove her on to succeed.

It was once said, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Maybe it could read, “Those who can, do; those who have done, teach.”

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Are We Too Needy?

I realise I have to write shorter articles; otherwise I'm just not going to keep this blog going. So here's what I'm thinking: I've noticed one or two songs expressing our desperation for God and, somehow, it just doesn't sit right with me. Desperation suggests being at the end of your tether and while its good that we recognise our dependence on God for everything this is surely not a healthy state to be in permanently. Let's say you have become unemployed or suffered an injury that leaves you unable to work. You then become dependent on benefits. So long as the benefits come in on time and are meeting your basic needs you shouldn't be desperate. It might make you realise how dependent you are if a payment should be delayed a few days but this wouldn't be how anyone would expect to live.

Life is relatively easy in our country and that can make us lazy in that most of us know where our next meal is going to come from. We can be open about our faith because we're not likely to be punished for what we believe. That's not true in other countries. Many Christians are indeed desperate and look to God to save them from imminent danger. We have needs those Christians don't have. We need to be more conscious of a generous, life giving God who meets all our needs. But generally we have no need to be desperate. Is this desperation really a cry for meaning and purpose in our cosy and apathetic state? Jesus told us that his kingdom is near and among us. Indeed, where two or three gather together he is there. So why are we desperate? We have his presence and an over-abundance of gifts. We are either ungrateful or self obsessed.

The Apostle Paul said he was content in all circumstances, whether he had much or nothing. When he was poor he didn't cry out to God to make him rich and when he was comfortable he didn't ask God to make him uncomfortable. He knew where he stood with God and where God stood with him. In his letter to the Ephesians he prayed that they would know the unbelievable riches they had in Christ. They didn't need to plead with God to make their lives better; they needed to understand that everything they required was within their grasp.