October 22, 2009

Ratatat - LP3

at first i wasn't a big fan of LP3.

Ratatat has been one of my favorite bands throughout college. track 1 off their self-titled debut album, seventeen years, is terrific. they're all instrumental, so if you like lyrics then you're out of luck, but for those of us who experience music better without words - Ratatat is for us.

it's taken me a while to understand why i like the music i do. as i've grown older and (hopefully) wiser, i've begun to understand that it has absolutely nothing to do with poetry for me. i've also discovered that some of my favorite songs ever by some of my favorite artists...i have absolutely NO CLUE what the words are. but i could sing you the guitar solo, or duplicate the back beat, or tell you what other artists they gained influence from, or tell you what other bands some dude has sung for based solely on the sound of his voice against an instrumental accompaniment.

so i've slowly realized that music like Ratatat is music made for me. and i had been a huge fan of both of their albums prior to LP3 - Ratatat and Classics, but when LP3 came out last year, i wasn't immediately hooked. it didn't possess the killer track like "Seventeen Years" on Ratatat or "Wildcat" on Classics. those songs sucked my right into the album. i thought LP3 lacked that suck-me-in track.

i listened to their "biggest hit" on the album - Mirando - and thought it was jolly enough, but it didn't leave me desiring to hear more of the album. but then some friends of mine introduced me to Shempi. and then a few months later my iPod was on shuffle and Shiller came on. and i started to get pretty curious. and for the last couple weeks - it's been my go-to album.

i don't really have a review for it - it's a harpsichord-heavy synth album that requires patience and dedication. there are few moments on the album that will blow you away (Shempi is an exception - that track rules), but the album as a whole might have you tapping your foot for quite some time.

so if you're like me, and you love Ratatat - don't give up on LP3. it'll getcha. besides...just look at that sweet album artwork.


also, check out both of these Ratatat remix albums: Volume 1 & Volume 2 (click links for album downloads.) okay late.

October 08, 2009

coming out in middle school: non-practicing homosexuals.

i had an interesting discussion at a youth pastor's network meeting on wednesday morning. the topic of the discussion: coming out in middle school.

a tough topic. we talked about how youth culture is drastically shifting, and how every kid in our youth ministry (that isn't home-sheltered/schooled) probably knows at least a couple homosexuals - or at least kids who they're pretty sure are gay. comparing that to just 12 years ago when i was in middle school - i knew 1 kid. comparing that to 25 years ago when many other youth pastors were in middle school: most didn't know any.

so the culture is changing - kids are talking about it more, and the world is telling them that sexuality (both homo and hetero) is certainly something that you should be curious about at an early age. they're thinking about it earlier, and middle schoolers who are already searching for their identity are suddenly determining that they are gay much more often than in previous years.

but we don't want to limit it to them simply searching for their identity. if you tell a kid who truly believes that they are gay that they're just going through a phase and that they'll be straight again in a few weeks...pretty sure that kid has a great chance of never making it back into the doors of your youth group. however, we don't want to make it a big hairy "revert from your sin" conversation.

my personal opinion is that we should treat them just like any heterosexual kid - "you're not ready for a serious relationship anyway - let alone sex - why don't you come talk to me about this when you're 16 and we'll discuss what it means for your life." cause it's true - ALL middle schoolers are not ready for sex, no matter what their sexual orientation. they're non-practicing sexual beings just like the straight kids are.

but then someone asked the question, "are non-practicing homosexuals sinning?"

i've been thinking quite a bit over the last 48 hours about that question. temptation is not a sin - Jesus was tempted in every way, yet he never sinned - but it is when individuals act on that temptation when it becomes sinful. if someone were to tell me, "adam, i'm an alcoholic, but i haven't had a drink in 3 years," i'd be celebrating, not worrying!

so when a middle schooler corners me and says, "adam, i'm gay," how do i respond? he's probably not dating and certainly isn't practicing at 11 or 12 years old, so is he sinning? how do i approach the situation - theologically, but more importantly individually with that kid? to what extent do i attribute it to an identity issue, and to what degree do i take the kid seriously and start unpacking his/her situation more in depth? i'm not sure i have answers for most of these.

these are questions i'll probably wrestle with for a long time in youth ministry. decades probably. and just when i feel like i've got it figured out, culture will probably change again and the church's approach will need to change again. but no matter what, everyone is welcome to enter the Kingdom. there will never be a day when a kid could say something that would shut them out of the doors of the Church.



so i finally gave in and joined twitter. thus, i naturally feel the need to publicly defend myself.

it's simple really:

1. i was following a bunch of my friends' twitter updates on google reader already.
2. my friends are clever and i enjoy reading their clever little insights into their lives.
3. i was updating my facebook status as if it was a twitter account already.
4. if i were to list the top 10 people i love, respect and admire in life, probably 7 of the 10 twitter. actually that's exactly how many of them do. no, bill cosby did not make the list.

so far here are the 'cons' to twittering:
1. having to eat all the critical words i've spoken about it in the past.
2. my beautiful best friend has threatened numerous times to break up with me.

but hark! don't worry guys. i've recently learned how to deduce an "empty threat" from a "veiled" or "direct" threat.


direct threat: "i'm going to blow up your house tomorrow morning..."
veiled threat: "you probably shouldn't sleep-in past 9:30 tomorrow..."
empty threat: "too bad you got twitter. now i have to break up with you."

see the difference? they're quite easy to spot.


October 01, 2009

the hot dog season in a nutshell...

i was there last saturday night to see relish clench the championship. in all honesty: i went to something like a dozen royals games this year, and relish won EVERY SINGLE TIME I WENT. the reverend tim ciccone owes me copious amounts of cash due to repeated $5 bets against the green machine. so silly.

so here they are...final 2009 hot dog race standings:

ketchup: 26
mustard: 27
relish: 28

2009 hot dog race champion: relish.

don't act like i never told ya. go relish. always and forever.