Monthly Archives: September 2009

I love the way the Calnin’s were able to capture the community aspect of what we do. I love to create with my friends. I think that’s the way music is supposed to happen. I don’t care how good you are as a musician or a producer; I don’t want to work with you if you aren’t at least somewhat emotionally invested in what we’re doing.

Be sure to view more of the Calnin’s work at

Get the Chords and Lyrics to “Skeleton Bones” here.

Nathaniel and Chris Calnin – video direction
John Mark McMillan – acoustic guitar/lead vocals
James Duke – electric guitar
Andrew Williams – electric piano/backing vocals
Lee Worely – percussion
Shae Wooten – bass guitar
Sarah McMillan, David Valier, Austin Forbes – backing vocals
Joel Willis – sound engineer

I honestly kind of hate that I even have to write this blog.

I have realized that the song “How He Loves” has become very personal to many people, and it honestly doesn’t really belong to me, or Kim Walker, or David Crowder. It belongs to them. I would like to say I’m sorry if I let you down by allowing the words to be changed in David’s version. My version and Kim’s will always be the same. David contacted me and very sincerely asked if it would be cool to change a couple words in his version, because he knew that there are literally thousands of people who would never hear the song the way it was. After a couple weeks of thought I decided to go ahead with it. Mostly because I knew it was only a matter of time before someone recorded a version with a different line, and honestly, I was glad for David to be the one to do it.

I have tons of respect for David. He’s super sweet, humble, talented, and a very intelligent guy. I’m certainly flattered that people would be so passionate about my original version of the song, but I feel bad that David’s taken so much flack over this whole deal. Especially since he went out of his way to include me in the whole process. Not to mention, he has given me WAY more credit than most songwriters ever receive from a performer who covers their song. David has told the story of the song and given me full credit on countless radio interviews and press releases. This is actually pretty unheard of. In case you don’t know, most songs on the radio are covers. When’s last time you heard an artist reference the writer of a song?

All this to say, I don’t have a problem with David changing the line because he knows the people he is serving, and that line would have isolated the song from those people.

What I do have a problem with though, is that the condition of greater Christianity would be as such that he would even have to change it. I think the fact that a line like “Sloppy wet kiss” could be controversial is ridiculous. Are we in kindergarten? Has any one out there not had or at least expected to some day, engage in a sloppy wet kiss? Have Christians decided to stop procreating and let Islamic extremists populate the whole earth?

Some folks are genuinely sad because a song so personal to them seems to have been messed with, and others seem to be glad that you can now sing this song in church with your grandparents. I understand both of those sentiments, and don’t have an issue with either. Still many of the people, on both ends, who seem to be making a big deal out of it, have both seemed to misunderstand the lyric. It seems that people either hate it or love it because they think I’m some how talking about kissing God. Please folks, I never ever, ever, ever, thought of this line as though it was talking about kissing God. Please read the words.

“HEAVEN meets EARTH like a sloppy wet kiss”

The idea behind the lyric is that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth converge in a way that is both beautiful and awkwardly messy. Think about the birth of a child, or even the death of Jesus himself. These miracles are both incredibly beautiful and incredibly sloppy (“gory” may be more realistic, but “Heaven meets earth like a gory mess” didn’t seem to have the same ring). Why does the church have such a problem with things being sloppy? Do we really think we’re fooling anyone on Sunday morning, especially God? Are we going to offend him? I mean, he’s seen us naked in the shower all week and knows our worst thoughts, and still thinks we’re awesome. What if we took all the energy we spent faking and used that energy to enjoy the Lord instead? That could be revolutionary!

Final thoughts:

I applaud David for changing the line to serve his people, and at the same time I boo the machinery that would cause him to have to do so.

I recently responded to a blog comment and so many people told me to post it as an actual blog that I’ve decided to do just that. If you want the total context of the response check it out here but you don’t necessarily need it. I’ve edited/expanded it slightly to help it make more sense on its own.

Also I’d like to say that the person I responded to seems to be a very intelligent person and had several interesting points. I don’t want anyone to think that this is knock against him in any way. His comment just got me thinking about what makes me so passionate about this subject.


God didn’t choose these words. Men did. The Bible wasn’t even written in English. So someone else had to choose the way these words would be translated. There are actually 7 different words in the old testament that someone decided to translate as the single english word “praise” and several other words that someone decided to translate into the single word “worship”. My personal favorite means “to kiss, like a dog licking it’s master”. Look it up.

There is nothing “holy” about the letters “h” “o” “l” “y”. Words are just letters and sounds that represent meaning. And when we use the same phrases they lose their association with the powerful meanings behind them. The truth has not lost power, just the words we use to tell it. That’s why we need new words. If we never changed the way we say things we would only be able to worship in Hebrew and Greek, which would mean nothing to us.

These words must mean something to us otherwise worship is little more than a base ritual, not unlike any other religion, sect, or cult.

As far as singing “about” God as apposed to singing “to” him (of which I like to do both), one way to show affection to someone is to speak or sing about them in their presence. It’s the same thing as speaking or singing to them, only sometimes it’s even more meaningful. Besides this, they do it in the Psalms and even the angels in revelation sang “about” him, not to him. “Holy is” not “Holy you are”.

Final thoughts:

I think we need to repent for making the beautiful expression of this divinely mysterious romance, that we so crudely have interpreted “worship”, into some dead ritualistic obligation. God is a real person, not some brain in the sky, not letters on a page, not a fairy tale.

I mentioned this guy in a blog the other week. Well it turns out he has just put some new music out this week!

Who is he? His Myspace says…

“Born in an amish community that his family left during his childhood, Glen Yoder was raised in the hills of Kentucky and came of age on the streets of the world. Yoder’s formative years were spent somewhere between his amish roots, the folk music of his home in the hills and the indie-rock soundtrack of the streets of Lexington, KY. From Central America to South Africa, Glen traveled with his friends to far-flung corners, settling in the heart of Kentucky to write songs tinged with sadness and outlined with hope.

Having grown as an artist for the last few years, Glen has been recording his brand of folk/rock/radio music with producer Joel Khouri of Bright City Studios in Charlotte, NC. With the fall 2009 release of singles “When the World Was Young” and “Hollywood,” expectation is growing for Yoder’s upcoming ep in 2010.”

Both tracks, an 80s rock radio anthem called “When The World Was Young” and a dreamy introspective pop song, “Hollywood”, are super fresh. Enjoy these tracks and be sure to look for more from this guy.

Continued from: Aug 31

In Jesus day the common way to receive news was by way of a “town crier”. Actually, this is where we get the word “preach”. Preach means to “cry aloud” and gospel means “good news”. This, however, is no longer the way we receive news. Furthermore, it hasn’t been in over a hundred years. Still when we imagine the evangelist, we see he/she on the corner of some street shouting at people.

Just like the violinist in my previous blog, this archaic method is largely ineffective because people are not in the mindset to hear what we’re saying. We are out of “context”. Preaching is still a beautiful art form and is still incredibly relevant and essential in the right place. But to hear someone “crying aloud” on the street corner today is likely more of a repulsion than a draw.

Let me make it clear though, this blog isn’t about preaching. It’s about how we do whatever it is we do. This is just an example of how I think we’ve been misunderstood. The story of the gospel is beautiful and deserves to be told with real sophistication, mystery, and beauty.

The buzzword of the day seems to be “permissive marketing”. I’m not necessarily saying that what we need is some new marketing strategy. However, the heart of real marketing is the telling of a story and we certainly have a story to tell. Because of the progress of culture we have to gain permission of the listener in order to tell this story. I for one don’t think it’s such a bad thing.

The issue here is that you can’t really tell someone a story anymore until you have won the right to tell it. People must give you permission into their world if they’re going to hear you.

My dream has been to tell stories through music with a level of artistic integrity that could win the trust of a listener. I realize that I certainly have not arrived, but I’m excited about the progress I’ve made.

My question for you is this:

What story are you telling people? Do people hear the heart behind you, or do they hear something else?

What we say is not as important as what they hear.