LET THERE BE GIFTS

Buying the perfect Christmas gift for my pianist/composer Dad, Joseph Martin, is never easy. First of all he is very picky! Second of all he already has everything! Thirdly, he is very picky! This year I’m thinking about a lot of interesting musical options. I have been doing my research, and I am narrowing it down…

Songs Heard Around the World

Music has touched my spirit deeply, yet differently, during the various seasons of my life. I grew up as most… first listening to the music my parents would enjoy. As I aged, my tastes expanded and I developed my own soundtrack for my life. Recently I have grown to appreciate the full magnitude of how…

LETTING GO AND MOVING ON

  This month, my sister and I began renting an apartment together in Fort Collins, Colorado. Beyond the practical aspects and challenges of moving, we both have learned a great deal from this operation in domestic transition. How can two people have accumulated this much stuff in just a few short years? Where did all…

THE JOURNEY HOME

No man learned anything original from looking in a mirror. With technology connecting our world more than ever before, we can access and connect with the diversity of the human experience with almost miraculous ease. How can it be that with all of this technology available to us, distinctions in perspective seem more disparate than…

A CELEBRATION OF SERVICE

In these days of generational segregation, the church offers us a rare opportunity for building community between the young and people of age. It is natural for children and older people to have their own times of gathering to cultivate their individual sacred cultures. Yet, there is much to be gained by allowing each of…

THE SOUNDTRACK OF CHRISTMAS

THE SOUNDTRACK OF CHRISTMAS In my last BLOG, I highlighted a selection of hymns that have been featured in major films. I have decided to extend this to the Christmas season, which is without a doubt the number one holiday in the United States, to truly intersect the religious and secular sectors of our population….

Hymns Go to The Movies

In this millennial age, there seems to be a clear line that separates the religious and secular sectors of public life. In movies, however, we can still find some examples where there is an overlap, particularly through music. Film scores are anything but arbitrary, and sacred music can bring important gravitas and character to cinematic…

FOR EVERY SEASON… A SONG

The beginning of a new season of song with your church choral or instrumental program can be a time of great energy as your people gather once again to prepare for praise. New friendships are formed, new lessons are learned, and new opportunities of service are explored. With that said, we must admit that in…

Sunday Singin’ and Dinner on the Grounds

With summer in full swing, my mind returns to memories of simpler times. Growing up as a Baptist in the South meant summers spent amongst friends and family. Every Wednesday evening, my grandfather (then the pastor of Bee Cave Baptist Church) would bring the church community together beneath the live oaks to sing the old gospel…

THE GARDEN

One of my favorite places as a child was visiting ZILKER GARDENS in Austin, Texas where I have lived most of my life. ZILKER offers more than twenty-six acres of winding paths and flourishing gardens. This botanical wonderland has been welcoming visitors for more than sixty years. It is truly a “jewel in the heart…

BE STILL AND KNOW

Much has been written about the importance of finding moments of quiet and reflection in cultivating wellness of spirit and body. The concepts of retreating into a sanctuary of stillness for the purposes of renewing a deeper peace has been a valuable in my own life. I attended a college that placed a strong emphasis…

Finding Advent

I love the season of Advent. For me, the anticipation of something wonderful has always been very compelling (sometimes even more exciting than the actual event itself): the long awaited trip to Disney World, the days leading up to Thanksgiving and the time of family gathering, the butterflies that go along with waiting for the…