In my last post I submitted a list of my favorite Christmas songs this season. It wasn't an exhaustive list by any stretch because there are a ton of great Christmas songs and albums out.

However, there are some really bad Christmas songs out there as well that somehow seem to make there way through the radio waves, into my radio, and usually into my head. So below is my top 10 list of really really bad Christmas songs that you'll want to avoid at all costs this Christmas season

10. Happy Christmas War is Over - John Lenon and Yoko Ono - Man did Yoko ruin a great musician and writer. This song shouldn't even be on a Christmas play list as far as I am concerned...the melody is as dreary as the lyrics, which makes it completely unenjoyable. Thanks John and Yoko for opening wide the proverbial winter window and throwing out the Christmas spirit!

9. Jingle Bells - I tried to find out who sings this but couldn't....but I am talking about a specific version...the one that is really fast all in one breath "jinglebellsjinglebellsjingleallthewayheyohwhatfunitistorideinaonehorseopensleighhey" Hey maybe this year you should ask Santa for some Riddlin'!

8. The Christmas Song - Aaron Neville - Who decided this guy had a good voice? I'm gonna put my issues with the song aside (but really what is up with roasting chestnuts?) to simply say that I've heard geese with better voices.......come to think of it, Aaron sorta sounds like a goose with some major vibrato problems.

7. Little Drummer Boy - Kenny G - because nothing says drumming like a long curly mullet and some smooth brass.

6. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas - do I really need to explain the lunacy of this song?

5. Grown Up Christmas List - I think this one is best known as preformed by Vanessa Williams (and there is a version done by Amy Grant...which explains so much about this song), but regardless of who sings it, this song is not only bad, but I'm pretty well convinced it is one giant melodic lie. I think I can safely classify myself as a grown-up (though still terribly young at heart) and my Christmas list looks nothing like this. And no other grown ups I know have this type of list either. I mean sure we all want peace on earth and to rid the world of poverty...but trust me, singing this song isn't going to accomplish that!!

4. Winter Wonderland/Sleigh Ride - Kenny and Dolly - Before Kenny's face became plastic, but not before the addition of plastic in other parts on one of the duos bodies (I'll let you guess who), this recording is dreadfully sappy....and just plain silly! I can't say I'm a big fan of either one of their music, but put them together and you just get BAD!!

3. Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer - Elmo and Patsy - So when did it become funny for convoluted, alcoholic Grandmothers to be tragically killed in what can only be described as a catastrophic accident? I mean, Grandma needed help way before this happened. And the song paints reindeer in such an unfairly negative light!

2. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - This song is disturbing. I mean it's either about an affair (problem A) or about a child seeing their parents making out and then writing a song about it (problem B). Either way, the song is just as wrong as it is annoying!

1. The Christmas Shoes - Newsong - Why is it that such a cheesy song has the inevitable ability to make me cry. And I'm not talking about a sniffle. I'm talking about boo-hoo, snotty-nose, don't-just-stand-there-and-gawk-bring-me-a-tissue kind of sob! I mean....come on....they wrote this song after they received the same forwarded e-mail that we all received years ago.....stop playing it already so I can enjoy the holidays and stop thinking about that poor child who...sniff...doesn't...sniff sniff...have enough.....sniff sniff for the....sniff sniff....SHOES!

This was a hard list to compress to only 10, so some dis-honorable mentions go to

A)Feed The World - Do They Know its Christmas? by everybody who was anybody in 1985 including Boy George, Sting, Bono (and a string of only-one-name-monichered people). Formally known as BandAid--pun intended I think--this song is just as awful as their haridos!

B)Last Christmas by George Michael (who appears on our list twice. He too was in Bandaid) - This song probably wins the award for most played Christmas song, which baffles me, because it is so horrible!!

So there you have it. The worst Christmas songs you should avoid this Christmas. Consider yourself warned, and remember, only you can prevent bad Christmas songs from being heard.

I gotta admit, I'm pretty pumped. Thanksgiving kinda got me in the holiday spirit, and I'm pretty excited that Christmas time is upon us! This really is my favorite time of the year, despite the increasingly cold weather and short days. I mean give me a long, hot, southern summer day most any time, and you can have your ol cold, grey weather (unless there is snow and large hills involved). But this is the time of year to celebrate, reflect on the year that has gone by while looking towards a new one, be with family, eat, eat, and eat some more! And most importantly it is a time to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God who became flesh and lived on Earth for the sole purpose of bringing about salvation to mankind! Man what an awesome truth! Needless to say this is the hap-happiest time of the year!

So in the holiday---no scratch that--the Christmas spirit, I would like to recommend some holly-jolly Christmas tunes to help jump start and enhance your Christmas cheer. These tunes are guaranteed to lift your spirits, put a smile on your face, and have you singing along....well most of them will anyway! So without further delay, here is my top 10 Christmas tunes in ascending order!

10. Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 - Transiberian Orchestra this is from the Christmas Eve and Other Stories album....great guitar playing!

9. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Mannheim Steamroller - From the Christmas Celebration album. The song is one of the best Christmas songs anyway, and this arrangement is top notch!

8. The 12 Days of Christmas - The Muppets and John Denver - from A Christmas Together - Does it really get any better than Mrs. Piggy singing "5 gold rings". And Beaker is hilarious!This one's a classic for sure!

7. The Song of Christmas - Newsong - From the album "The Christmas Hope" (Not to be confused with "The Christmas Shoes") this song is a really great song, especially for Newsong. Expect some semi-cheesy lyrics...but be not afraid, for the vocals more than make up for them!

6. O Rejoice - This is a Hillsong song...not sure what album, but I got it on a compilation from a music subscription that I.....subscribe to. Man this song is amazing! Great chorus!

5. This is Our God w/ What Child is This - Travis Cotrell - Again I got this on a compilation, but if you can find this individual song it is well worth it. A great worship song with descriptions of God unlike any you've probably used before....but so true!

4. Let It Snow - Michael Buble - Is it me or is this guy a Dean Martin or Old Blue Eyes all rolled into one? Bringing back the old school big band fronted by a larger-than-life personality entertainer, Buble has the smoothest voice ever, and I really dig the big band sound!

3. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) - The Chipmunks - Who are the marketing geniuses that came up with the Chipmunks...and that further more decided to record a Christmas song with them? Genius I tell you, GENIUS!

2. O Come O Come Emmanuel - The traditional hymn straight from the hymnal is what I'm referring to here. The message that lies within this song is everything that Christmas is about! Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel has come!!!

1. Blue Christmas - Now I know what you're thinking, "Really, you gave Elvis the top spot on your list." But indeed my friends I did not. The song Blue Christmas was in fact recorded by Elvis (recall the lady squelching in the background), but for the purposes of my list, I would like to cite a much better version, sung by one....drum role please......PORKY PIG. Oh man this song is a riot! I recall one Christmas morning many years ago when I was still a boy, waking up early early to the Pig singing this song....and I just laughed and laughed. The poor guy has the hardest time spitting it out....but nothing will get you in the Christmas spirit quicker!

So there you have it, run to your local wal-mart of iTunes to grab yourself a whole batch of merry music!

So Maybe I Do Have a Problem

I have known for quite some time now that I am not the most organized person in the world. It's not like it's a great secret. But I think I am getting along in life just fine. Or I did think that until recently.

As a co-worker of mine would say, I obviously have a pilots license.....I pile it here, pile it there. It's just sort of my default way of dealing with most everything, most especially papers.

Let's take my office for example. If someone comes into my office and says, "Hey Matt check out this cool piece of paper that has important information inked on it" then I would take it from them, and if it had any semblance of interest to me, I would look at it and then once done, I would place it in a specific corner on my desk. Now, after looking at this paper, it may never need my attention again. However, my thought most often is "I may want to look at that again" or "I may use that sometime" or if it is an especially important document, I may say to myself "I need to come back to that." And it gets special attention if the paper is some color other than white (oooo.....pretty paper....aaahhhh).

It's the same thing with my drawers (no not my desk drawers). I will look in them for something, and think, "Oh yeah, there is that duct tape that I may need one day" or "Oh yes, there is that dry erase board marker eraser that I might need if I ever teach again with a dry erase board" or "Oh there is my pile of rubber bands that I rarely, if ever, use, but you never know when a pile of rubber bands might come in handy. Better leave those there" or "Oh there is my wig and make up...." wait...did I type that out loud.

You get the idea. I am similar in my thoughts. Someone will come up to me let's say on a Sunday at church (when I am usually the busiest and most stretched for time, patience, and mental capacity) and say "Hey Matt, you know that song you sang three weeks ago, the one that talked about Jesus. Do you remember that?" To which I usually say out loud "Uh.....yeah....uh....can you give me a bit more of a reminder" while I think in my head "What...we sang three weeks ago? There was a three weeks ago. Wonder where did I put my keys. And why is that little 2 year old about to walk up and touch my guitar that costs more than his little life could ever repay!!! Hey there is this person in front of me singing...who is this person.....hey person.....oh song song..uh.....yes we definitely have never sang a song that sounded like fact...that's not music...that's what my cat sounds like when I pull her tail...keys...kid.....mmm song song" Anyway so the person now has stopped singing and is starring at me awaiting my answer to "Remember that one?" Oh yes, OK I DO remember it. "Why yes, I remember that" Other person: "Can I have a copy of that on CD?" Me: "Sure, I have that I can get you a copy, I'll do it tomorrow when I come in and get it to you Wednesday."

Of course, following that conversation I have a thousand other "Heys" "How are yous" and "Can you help mes". Monday comes, and no thought of making a CD has even crept close to the forefront of my mind. Then Wednesday come, Mr. Person comes up all excited "Hey did you make me a copy of that CD?" And in my head I think "CD? Copy? Copying music is illegal. Illegals, now there's something we have a lot of around here in Albertville AL. Alabama.....I live in Alabama....of goodness...CD...CD.....CD...OH YEAH THE CD" and then I have to tuck my head and say "No Mr. Person...I completely forgot about that."

Let's stop right there and just say that I wish I had a dollar for every time I have said "I forgot." I'd be terribly rich.

But alas, my forgetfulness...and my lack of organization has become a bit of a problem in my life. As I continue to add more to my already full schedule of school, work, family, etc. I also need to continually increase my level of organization. The problem is that it just doesn't come naturally. I tend to be more spontaneous in my daily planning (though for the record I do have a system...more on that in a second). I like the freedom to move throughout the day as needed. In ministry, there is an inherent need and expectation of flexibility. And what I lack in organization, I definitely own in flexibility. And I am more and more conscious of the fact that I think differently than a lot of people. I think it has something to do with being left-brained or something. I will never be a rigid person, stuck to a strict schedule, control ed by the calendar. But I do have to do something.

In effort to get a leg up on my organizational skills, I recently attended a one-day Franklin Covey conference. If you've never been to one, you should go. It was really great, and had some wonderful principles to apply not only to work, but also to personal life. I am really working on this organization thing. I don't want things like forgetfulness or planning to hinder my effectiveness in life. I don't want to be held back by the hang up of scatter-brained-ness.

But I need to make two observations that will hopefully prove to be therapeutic at least for me. The first is that it seems that in my recent quest to become more organized, more people have been brave enough to point out to me that I am unorganized (and by brave I mean obnoxiously blunt) as if I didn't already know it. I will, however, take that as a sign that I desperately need to make some changes before this delimma bites me. But people, come on, I don't tell you that you're too fat and you need to get your weight under control, or that you talk to loud on your cell phones when standing in line at the grocery store, or that your breath reeks and you need a breath mint before we all pass out for the putrid smell. I don't point out the obvious shortcomings in your life, because I assume that you, like me, are a self-evaluator and you already know those things. Listen I am the first to wave the banner for truth in love, I am, but COME ON!!!

Secondly, and most selfishly, I just want to say that I am not unorganized because I want to be, because I am incapable, or because I am lazy. Organization just alludes me for whatever reason. It's tough for me. It's hard but I am working at it. I AM WORKING AT IT! But I'd like to think that there is some beauty in the way I am made. That my lack of organization, it free-spiritedness, creates balance in my life, the life of those around me, and in my line of work. If we were all so driven by planning and organization (and please don't hear me devaluing those things, I truly realize their purpose) we would probably miss out a lot on moments of joy, laughter, and spontaneity that keeps life interesting.

My final word is simply this: If you are like me and suffer from the terribly disease of disorganization there is hope. You can work at it and get better. But don't do so to the detriment of your personality. I am convinced that though we need to present ourselves in an excellent manner, God created us artsy, left-brained, creative folks the way we are for a reason. I am also convinced that we may perhaps be a bit under appreciated in our society. Maybe I should say our approach to life is a bit under appreciated...that sounds better. But find joy in how you were created!

And for those of you organized people out there who get frustrated at us less gifted at organization, I would just say to you: Cut us some slack! Maybe that's why you are around us. To help us. And we're to help you!

See how beautiful this could really be!


The Poor Poor Scene

I’m in Birmingham for the night, staying over for a conference tomorrow. For those who don’t know, I go to Birmingham every Monday for Seminary (all day long I might add). So instead of driving all the way back home and then all the way back to B-ham, I just booked a room at the Sheraton for the evening. So now I am blogging….however the only internet connection I could get without spending the entire evening in the lobby would cost me $12 (which, by-the-way it is to be noted that the Hampton Inn gives its patrons free wireless internet access in every room!). So this post, though I am writing it on Monday, will probably not be posted until Wednesday. That aside, I did want to share my experience from tonight.

I had some time after class to wander around Birmingham. So after a pointless twenty minute trip to the mall, I found my way to the nearest Best Buy. While there, I realized something that really bothered me. Allow myself to explain…..myself.

I was walking up and down the music isles at Best Buy as I have done countless times before. You have to understand the obvious fact that I really really enjoy all things music. My preference would be to make/play music, however I also take great pleasure in listening to music, especially something new. I am always trying to find new music with the sole stipulation that it be…well…… good. In the past, I have even gone to a music retailer with a list of 5 or 6 records that I have wanted to purchase. It was always a treat to be able to mark one by one each record off of my list. However, as I walked down the aisles tonight, I realized that I didn’t have a list. I’ll admit I was a bit unprepared, as I had not originally planned this trip to Best Buy, but again, my past experience has proven that even without my trusty music-to-buy list, I’ve been able to find at least one record on the shelves that would catch my attention. Not so tonight, and as that realization dawned, and even deeper and more troubling realization followed. Not only do I not have a list, and not only could I not find a record worth buying at Best Buy, I am not sure that at this very moment there is a single record that has proven to be worthy of my attention.

Well, ok, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch (and I might add that the previous statement read much more arrogant than I intended). There are good artists still around, and upon further examination, there are a few bands that are still putting out a good product. And I would further have to admit that a good bit of what I am basing this entire blog off of is totally subjective. However, the fact still remains that the current temperature of the music industry is tepid at best. In fact I would dare say that it is near hypothermic! Radio has become irrelevant and utterly annoying. Labels pour loads of money into only those acts that will return loads of money for them, completely disregarding the quality or integrity of the artistic product. And don’t get me started again on the fact that there is such a genre as “Christian” music.

But this blog isn’t just about the pitiful state of the music industry. It is much more about the fact of how deflated I was when I walked away from the music store empty handed yet again (though my wife and I will both be glad to leave that $9.99 plus tax in our bank account!). It is about the fact that not only was I empty handed, but the last few times I did actually by an album, I was disappointed. The last really great record I bought was at least a year ago (by a band called The Edison Glass…be sure to check them out, you’ll be glad you did). It’s about the fact that either the music industry is failing to put out music for a connoisseur like me, or maybe, just maybe, I’ve lost an edge on what is really good music. Maybe the problem lies more in my auditory taste than it does in artistic temperature. I’ll be honest, those bands that normally get rave reviews by critics usually are either to out-their-weird for me, or it is too Americana-boring, or it is Celtic (which isn’t necessarily a problem, I just have a hard time riding down the road with Celtic Women as my driving music). Perhaps as I get a little older my taste is supposed to change, but I still would just prefer good old fashioned catchy pop-rock and roll with artistic integrity and thought-provoking and even only somewhat original lyrics. Is that really too much to ask?

Maybe that is what my role will be one day. Maybe I’ll be the one to fill the void of the oh-so-needed rock-n-roll. Maybe I’ll be the heating pad that warms up ever-so-slightly the sub-zero radio waves. Or maybe you could just tell me a good band that is already doing that so I can get me some new music!

I Saw What I Saw

Just a quick note to let you all know about an amazing music video I just saw today. It's by Sara Groves, and the song is called I Saw What I Saw.

Do yourself a favor and go watch that video asap!

In other news, I found this article that relates to yesterday's post! Be sure to check it out as well!

So I'm struggling a bit here with this whole green thing. Maybe I'm the one who's crazy, but I'm thinking more and more that Global Warming is at worst and hoax, and at best a ploy to make money by the likes of Al "It-looks-like-I-smeared-Vaseline-all-over-my-face" Gore and his whatever organization. Don't get me wrong, I think we should take care of the environment, and we should do what we can to preserve the beauty and functionality of the earth for future generations. However, I also would like to think that I have enough common sense and appreciation for God's creation to make that decision in my own life. And further more, while I realize that mankind can have a significant impact on the environment, I struggle to believe that we can cause a shift in climate. Last time I checked, God was in control of that! So I'd like to just be an individual who has an equal appreciation for what I can and cannot do for the world around me.


Enter NBC and "Green Week". So I haven't been home to watch TV until last night. It started with the nightly news (whose obvious goal is just to tick me off) and their special report on something environmental. Pardon me for not knowing what the report was because I was doing the dishes...but I heard enough to know it was about global warming. Well then we started watching The Biggest Loser (did I just type that.....I mean.....I don't personally like the's Karen....and we compromise with our TV watching....leave me alone). At every commercial break they were giving us tips like "recycle" or "plant a tree". Really? Really? We can recycle, or plant trees to help the environment? No way! Then all of their workouts had to be done without they would conserve energy. And to top it all off, they gave the contestants special green shirts with a giant "RECYCLE" symbol on the back.

But that wasn't the worst of it. After I suffer through The Biggest Loser, we then watch Law & Order. Usually a good show, though I rarely agree with their political commentary that is prevalent throughout the show. It was in the middle of a show, that one of the characters is carrying around a pizza box....just walking around with it, when another character shouts out "Hey, you know you need to recycle that pizza box!"

Talk about gratuitous. This whole NBC Green Week mess really gets under my skin. I honestly can't figure it out. Do they really think that they are being oh-so-noble in shoving this down our throats. I find it terribly hard to believe that they are really trying to make a difference. It seems much more likely to me that they are trying to guilt us into changing our lifestyle in such a way that we have to spend money on "Green" items (or heaven forbid on carbon credits!!). In the process, the one pushing this little agenda get rich, but the environment, due to conditions that have been in place since the dawn of man, continues to change, until we realize that "OH the ice caps are now getting bigger.....ICE AGE ICE AGE beware of the ICE AGE" In which case, the tide turns and we now need to do something else to stop ruining the environment.....does this sound familiar. Hey here's an idea NBC, STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT!

Here's my questions. Have I just been listening to Rush Limbaugh a bit to much lately, or is the global warming thing a big-to-do-about-absolutely-nothing? I don't want to call it a scam, but OK....ITS A SCAM! It's just not adding up to me! And listen, I realize that I have every right to turn NBC off, and just not watch it, which is sounding more and more appealing each day, but that's not really my point. My point is that at some time there has to be a voice that is as loud as my liberal TVs voice. My biggest problem is not that NBC is spewing trash about global-shmobal warming. It's that there isn't on TV station that is calling into question the validity of this stuff or that is at least willing to present an alternative. I mean, right or wrong, let's see the potential other side of the equation. Perhaps the Earth is deteriorating. Perhaps it has always been. Or perhaps it is a part of a cycle. We have droughts and we have floods. We have summer and winter. We have bumper crops some years, and some years we get briars. Some days are good, some days are bad. Instead we continue to hear this annoying alarm sound that is apparently intended to send everyone in a panic. I suppose I'll go back to my Utopian world, where media is unbiased, and where action is based on researched fact.

If you have an opinion about this subject, I'd love to hear it!

Character Equity

I probably don't have to restate that I am a Georgia Bulldog fan. Perhaps since I have moved to Alabama I have become even more so. And being a Georgia means an almost automatic distaste....nay.....loathing for the Florida Gators. While that game is last week's news, I heard something on television today that reminded me of the big win we executed over our rivals. You see the big win was thrust even more into the media with a somewhat controversial call (though I would rather classify it as brilliant) that Georgia coach Mark Richt made.

Georgia has not played their best ball in the last few games leading up to what is dubbed "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party". So Coach Richt decided that the team needed to play with some emotion. He told the team that if they didn't get a penalty for excessive celebration after their first score, he would personally be so mad at them that he would make them run on Monday's practice.

Well UGA scored first, and after the touchdown, the entire team cleared the sideline and went to the end zone where they danced, pranced, and subsequently got an excessive celebration penalty. While the call was brilliant and probably had something to do with Georgia winning the game, not everyone was thrilled by the call, least of all Florida and the president of the SEC. So Mark Richt issued a public apology. No fines or such punishment deemed necessary. And no real harm done.

However, today, every football commentator on TV has been asking "Was Coach Richt's call brilliant, or in bad taste." One commentator put it best when he said
"Coach Richt has enough Character Equity built up in college football for that call to have done no damage to his own reputation or the reputation to the Georgia Football program." I thought that was a great testimony to Mark Richt (a professing Christ-follower) and the respect that most people have for him. And it made me hope that people can say the same thing about me....that I have a good amount of Character Equity.

I also used this story last week as an example for my choir. I told them that many times we approach God in the same way the UGA had been approaching football; emotionless, a going-through-of-the motions-for-whatever-reason, a detached weekly to-do, etc. However, our God is to be worship and loved with "all our heart, soul, mind, and strength." Which includes our emotion. Now I'll be the first to say that you can't worship God with emotion only. Just as you can't worship him with intellectual reason only. But when we combine our emotional response (remembering that we approach every other relationship with some form of emotion) with the truth of who God is, his word, and the direction of His Holy Spirit, we have a winning combination for life-altering, mission-breeding worship. Maybe we could all use a dose of "excessive celebration" in our personal, and corporate worship!

Newer Posts Older Posts Home

Blogger Template by Blogcrowds.