Don’t you want to thank someone?

My NPR station has a clever trick to prove their value when they need donations. They remind you of “Driveway Moments.” You know — when you park your car and finish listening to the story glued to your seat.

What do we like best about this Katie Moore album cover? The light from the lantern is utterly insufficient. (Image: Andrew Peterson)

I had a driveway moment a few months ago. Instead of radio news, it was Andrew Peterson’s Light for the Lost Boy album, and I couldn’t move. I was lost in the final song, sunk in the seat, powerless, silent, and still. I felt heavy. I felt thankful.

The song, “Don’t You Want to Thank Someone,” is an indulgent, 10-minute masterpiece and as good of a Thanksgiving song as any. It’s a deep, brooding treatise on grandeur and gratefulness that simultaneously closes the album and artfully starts its cycle again. The 10 minutes pass like time spent watching a starry night’s sky, especially if you enjoy anything by Mr. Gabriel.

Here’s the capstone:

When the world is new again
And the children of the King
Are ancient in their youth again
Well, maybe it’s a better thing
To be more than merely innocent
,
But to be broken, and then redeemed by love.
Maybe this old world is bent,
But it’s waking up,
And I’m waking up.

The song is easily the high point of the record, which is Andrew’s ninth and arguably his best. Terrific reviews appeared everywhere within days of its release that I won’t attempt to duplicate. Reviewers detailed the new tag-teaming producer duo, highlighted allusions to Andrew’s influences and his previous work, and emphasized the fine songwriting. Speaking of the final track, one reviewer said it best: “Light for the Lost Boy earns this ending.”

Full-Disclosure: We are Fans
I believe Andrew is one of the most perceptive, captivating songwriters of our time. His mission to “tell the truth in the most beautiful way I know how” is refreshing and genuine, a trait that inevitably draws comparisons to the late Rich Mullins. I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear, finally, musical energy on Lost Boy matching the intellectual horsepower Andrew has brought for more than a decade. He records and tours with Ben Shive (holy piano-heart-strings, Batman) and Andy Gullahorn (the Chuck Norris of songwriting), creating a formidable trio known as The Captains Courageous. (Look for ’em.)

Challenge
If you haven’t heard the song (or the phenomenal album), take a minute to add it to your collection. I dare you to listen to “Don’t You Want to Thank Someone” one evening without distraction. Maybe even in your car. You’ll know what to do next.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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We’ll autograph that for you

A lot of “experts” these days blather about measuring your online influence.  Well, here at Matthewpedia, we have an objective data set. Five years ago, we produced a list of 10 books that we wished existed and set it loose online. None of these books existed in 2007. Let’s see how we did.

Baseball/football as pastime – this loosely exists only as a top-notch routine from the late comedian George Carlin (Google him). Strike 1 for us.

The real secret – no official publication, but the formula is apparently still effective! No vibes here. 0 for 2.

Mother Teresa’s autobiography – it’s not “auto,” but it’s far better than cultural autopilot. Fr. Maasburg’s book is what we’ve been looking for. 1 for 3.

Freakonomics 2 – published in 2009, the Steves even took our advice to focus on global warming, which is the most daring, mind-blowing chapter in their sequel, Superfreakonomics. Naturally we take credit. 2 for 4.

Anything else by Leif Enger – We said this counted for two if it happened.  And it did.  So Brave, Young and Handsome  stands tall as a sophomore release that still has the magic. And, for extra credit, the protagonist is a failed novelist. Still waiting on the film version of “Peace.” 4 for 6. (Leif, please write more – maybe even in the comments? Pretty please?)

“…Other business killers” – Not officially a book yet, but this happened. 4 for 7.

Harry Potter and Socialized Medicine – We’re still waiting. 4 for 8.

Straight talk about you know what – We might’ve missed this release because we’re still laughing. If only presidential debates had as much clarity. 4 for 9.

Portmanteau – We’re not kidding. Two years ago, this gem appeared. We totally rockumentary. 5 for 10.

That just happened. Half! Objectively, it’s clear the Matthewpedia staff is either way ahead of the curve or downright psychic. To celebrate batting 500, we might answer one of those TED speaking requests that have been piling up. You know how it is for online experts – everybody wants to get on your schedule, so you might as well get your message out by writing a book.

Share your wishes for future books in the comments.

P.S. – if any former Matthewpedia staffers-turned-hipsters are reading this, a “book” is an “old-school Kindle,” as you call it.  Now, read this again – it might make more sense.

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Impossible Made Beautiful

Have you ever wanted to fly? I have – and not because I wanted to get somewhere faster. I just want to see things from up high – soaring along the edges of skylines, looking across the horizon, and twisting around my favorite landscapes.

Well, here’s the next best thing. Fair warning – this is a shameless plug for Yonder Blue Films, a startup captained by a Matthewpedia supporter that flies cameras in the air (!) with multi-copters.  These guys are on the cutting edge of a hobby that’s rapidly becoming a bona-fide segment of the film industry. That’s right, you can make a living doing this.

You can also win awards, like these guys did for this video:


That video won (easily, in our opinion) the 2012 MultiRotor Forums contest, which awarded the Yonder Blue boys with some crazy new gear and global street cred. These guys are way ahead of the curve in producing impossible shots that are just beautiful. In fact, we hear that they’ll have some footage of dinosaurs soon (not a joke).

If you dig this, go like ’em on Facebook or Twitter.  Already watched that video twice? Find more breathtaking footage on the Yonder Blue Films Gallery page.

The best part? You can meet these guys in person and have their genius brains work on your next video production. (Plug!) Just contact them, and you’ll feel great knowing you’re supporting a small business that sees the big picture.

(Bravo, Ben, for the tenacity and vision to make YBF really take off. Politicians everywhere should be clamoring to tell your story on the campaign trail of small business success on Main Street. Maybe they’d hire you to help tell theirs, too.)

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Remembering Rich Mullins

15 years ago, a musician named Rich Mullins died. His Jeep rolled over on a Friday in Illinois, and I remember hearing the news on the radio the next day. Choked up, the DJ slowly shared the story and hollowed out a minute of airtime.

That 60 seconds of silence shook me up. I remember it because, at the time, I didn’t grasp the loss, but I knew something great was gone. Reaction to his death was widespread – musicians, authors, poets, clergy and artists collectively paid tribute in their own ways. Like a child at a funeral, I felt the gravity from the cues of others older and wiser. In the months and years following, a sadness settled on my shoulders, and it has never left.

Calling Out Your Name
Rich wrote songs that shot straight and stirred your soul. He brought intricate, moving metaphors to a world of trite, convenient Christian-ized art. The God he sang of was mysterious and beyond our control, powerful but patient, good but not safe. And Rich was good – really good – on so many instruments, including the hammered dulcimer that became his sonic signature.

Rich broke the rules of the Christian subculture. He didn’t fit well; artistically, his most popular songs were not his best, which fathomed God’s poetry and asked hard questions. I think his life meant so much to so many because he saw a way around what has beleaguered our community for so long. It hit many people like a ton of bricks when they heard his songs, saw how he lived, or heard him make statements like this:

“If I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ, who I claim to be my Savior and Lord, the best way that I can do that is to identify with the poor. This I know will go against the teachings of all the popular evangelical preachers. But they’re just wrong. They’re not bad, they’re just wrong. Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in a beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken…” (full recording, quote starts at 7:40)

The Living Legacy
Today, I’m remembering Rich and his legacy, and not just his musical or mission work. There are dozens of musicians, writers and artists who will immediately tell you that Rich was and continues to be an inspiration. Many wear it as a quiet badge of honor that they knew him personally.

The best part is that you can still hear Rich in their work. My favorite singer/songwriter, Andrew Peterson, is well-documented as Rich’s “heir apparent,” and you can hear the Rich-ness of his music across his catalog. (By the way, Andrew’s latest album is his best yet and will be an upcoming Matthewpedia subject.) Andrew also wrote one of the best tributes to Rich I’ve read.

I can’t stop there. So many artists rocked by Rich are making great art today – Andy Gullahorn, JillPhillips, Derek Webb, Randall Goodgame…  The list goes on. Quite literally, it seems, when you open the comments section. Who do you remember Rich with?  Leave a comment.

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Matthewpediatrics, Vol. 2

Yes, it’s true. Baby Emmett joined the Matthewpedia staff less than a fortnight ago. His contract stipulates that we promote the spelling of his name: it’s “Emmett” – two Es, two Ms, and two Ts. Once again, Mrs. Matthewpedia and I have our hands full onboarding our newest startup, an Apgar 9 who eats his weight in food every week.

Let me tell you – Emmett is already running this place. You know the type. They join your team and immediately start making demands. “Get me some food,” “I’m cold; do something about it,” and “I’ll be snoozing in my cube – wake me up if anything exciting happens.” It’s exhausting. Oddly enough, we’re all happily meeting said demands. Hopefully he’ll appreciate our efforts someday.

The last time this happened, we went radio silent for three years. Three years!  Not this time though, faithful Matthewpedia readers. This time, we’ve retained Emmett’s mentor as in-house counsel (the senior staffer with three years of experience) to help us keep this place running. Let’s hope he knows what he’s doing.

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What a difference three years makes

ImageComing soon: Matthewpedia Rises! Er, Returns!
Wait…

Now appearing this Olympiad, Matthewpedia!
No, that’s not good either…

Okay, okay, okay. We know a dead cat bounce when we see one, but we still blame the AWOL hipster staffers and their strike of 2009 for Matthewpedia’s extended hiatus. We almost came to a truce last year, but then there was something about tents, TV rights, and the 99%, and suddenly they were “released” from their Portland party pad, blaming us and leaving the U.S. to pursue other career opportunities, best we can tell. We picked up the pieces and relocated operations to Texas because of its limitless restaurants, low taxes, and wealth of material for this blog. Like the missing staffers, we too have arrived in a different country.

Bottom line – we’re back, and we’re excited. More soon.

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There’s a reason they call it a Cadillac

Have you seen this TV ad? The tagline is brilliant. It’s for the brand-new Cadillac SRX “crossover” (the gas-sipping way to say ‘small SUV’), and the folks at GM finally got the ad right.

“The Cadillac of crossovers.”

YES!  There are reasons we call things Cadillacs, and you’re looking at one of those reasons. Good job, Fritz. If the car is as good as the ad, GM may be onto something for the 10’s.

P.S. – The song used in the ad is called 1901 by Phoenix. Almost perfect, the Cadillac Automobile Company was founded in 1902. What’s a year? (It’s nothing to my staffers, apparently. They’re still not back. See previous post.)

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