The Archives

New Release: Behold the King of Glory by Russ Ramsey

Enter into the greatest story ever told. In this carefully researched retelling of the story of Jesus, Russ Ramsey invites us to rediscover our wonder at his sinless life, brutal death, and glorious resurrection. Featuring forty short chapters recounting key episodes from Jesus’s time on earth, this book expands on the biblical narrative in a fresh and creative way---giving us a taste of what it would have been like to walk next to Jesus and experience his earthly ministry first hand. Behold the King of Glory is now available wherever great books are sold (click here to grab your copy from the Rabbit Room store). Congratulations on the release, Russ!

The Silent Game of Football

Growing up, I had a clock radio at my headboard. As a rule, I was to be in bed by ten. This posed a problem for me on Monday nights, because I had to miss my favorite show, Monday Night Football. But I had a sneaky solution. I knew how to dial in the local ABC affiliate on my clock radio. I would then tuck the clock under my my pillow and lay my ear directly over the speaker. One Monday night I was laying there in the dark, discreetly taking in the action, when the drama began to build. The 49ers were giving a beating to the Raiders, and Jerry Rice had just tied Jim Brown's record of 126 touchdowns. It became apparent that he was going to try to break the record that night. I couldn't take it any longer, there was only so much imagery I could create in my mind. I had to see what was going on with my own eyes. I shut my clock radio off and crept out of my room and down the hall to the living room. I turned on the TV and muted the volume, hoping that neither parent would notice a flickering, blueish glow under their bedroom door.

Andy Gullahorn Live via Concert Window

Tune it tonight as Andy Gullahorn performs live on Concert Window. It's a pay-what-you-want show, and we hope you'll want show your support for Andy's work. Click here for more information, and no, you'll never be able to un-see this picture.   10947341_10155089252245109_3025347616698987102_n

Five Questions For Bluegrass Sensation Stacy Grubb

Stacy Grubb's new record, From the Barroom to the Steeple, has just been released. It's beautiful and features some amazing musicians including Stacy (voice, wow) and Ron Block (banjo, mustache). It's so good I'm going to prove it to somebody by giving a copy away to a randomly-selected person who comments on this post. ---Sam

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Tell us a little about how you became an international bluegrass sensation? Do not even think about answering this awesome question without mentioning Cathead. (Note: Alan “Cathead” Johnston is Stacy’s dad.)

I don’t feel there is an honest answer to this question. How did I drive my family into the poorhouse with bluegrass? Same as every bluegrass performer, mostly. Well, not really. I didn’t grow up listening to bluegrass. I grew up with the option of contemporary Christian or Waylon Jennings. That’s what ol’ Cathead gave me to choose from. At least, for a really long time. When I was a teenager, I got into Mariah Carey and pursued that kind of sound and developed my songwriting. And I’m picking on Cathead. He didn’t object to my Dolly tape I had (it was a gospel record she’d cut). I was probably 4 when I discovered her, and she has been my #1 ever since---even unto this day. But by the time I was in my 20s, I had this blend of Dolly and Mariah vocally (only with not one iota of a hint of Mariah) and my goals with it were just ridiculous. I really bucked the honest truth of my voice, which is that it’s just not designed for R&B. I know, right?

Song of the Week and a Concert Window Concert by Eric Peters

While Michael Card is leading his study on the Gospel of Luke tonight at North Wind Manor, Eric Peters will be playing a concert via Concert Window for the rest of the known world. Here's what Eric has to say about the show:

It's full-on winter, a colorless time of bleakness and despondency for some, of rest and regathering for others. A settled season of anticipation for all of us, I suppose. So with that in mind, I will be playing an online concert live from my Asylum (office) tonight at 7:30pm CST via Concert Window. It's a PWYW show---if only that stood for Pay Wads of Your Wealth. I'll be trying out some new material from my forthcoming album, Far Side of the Sea. I hope you'll consider tuning in and letting me bend your ears for a short while. See you tonight. Click here for the Concert Window page.
And on top of that, here's the Song of the Week. It's from Eric's Land of the Living album, which you can pick up in the store and take $2 off with the coupon code: FLOATYIRON [audio:IronDid.mp3] "The Iron Did Swim" from Land of the Living by Eric Peters (Click through for lyrics.)

Capturing Beauty: Miss Pork Cuisine

The small Midwestern town where I was raised is idyllic in many ways. It has a city pool where I spent my boyhood summers swimming with my friends, a dignified sandstone courthouse at the intersection of Jefferson and Main, a single screen movie theatre that was built in the late 1920s, and an annual county fair known as the Pork Festival. The Pork Festival is a nod to our roots. We are a farming community---producers of all manner of crops and livestock. For those who hail from my town, the Pork Festival is part of the rhythm of life. Every September the carnival pulls into town, the streets around the courthouse are blocked off, the tents go up, the vendors with their standard county-fair wares (mirrors frosted with AC/DC and Van Halen logos, nunchuks, and cheap stuffed animals) set up shop, and the entire town adopts the attitude that we are all taking a long weekend together. My earliest memories of independence came from those times when my parents would let my brother and I break free from their watchful eye so we could roam the confines of the festival at night, riding the Scrambler and the Octopus, and buying survival knives and throwing stars with our allowance money. For three days we lived on breaded tenderloin sandwiches, elephant ears, and lemon shake-ups. We were kings in a kingdom flowing with sugar and fried food. The festival’s main event was the parade on Saturday.

Tomorrow: Jeremy Casella & Andrew Osenga Live

Edit: The free tickets have been claimed. Behold! We've got two free tickets for tomorrow night's house show at North Wind Manor. Jeremy Casella will be here playing a full show, with Andrew Osenga as a special guest. The tickets are available to the first two people (or the first couple) who has never before been to a show at the Manor. Just email me at [email protected] to claim them. If you've been before, you're welcome to claim one to bring along a friend who hasn't. There are still a handful of tickets left for the rest of you. Just $12 each (or $8 if you're a Rabbit Room member---check your emails members) Click here for details.

Cracks In The Canvas: Encountering Art

The other day I had a chance to visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Even though most of the exhibits remain the same, I like to go at least once every year to refresh my experience and my memory. As a creative and art-conscious person, there’s something pilgrim-like about it. We travel to such centers of art in order to expand our vision and our senses once again. I was thinking something along these lines as I wandered the galleries. I was particularly struck by how galleries remind us of the “reality” of certain types of art. It seems today that more and more art is coming to us through digital means. We pick and download songs through the internet. We stream films or television shows likewise. We can even look at famous paintings or photographs via our computer screens. Granted, real flesh-and-blood artists played real instruments in a studio and created those sounds. Real actors got dirt thrown on them or played out their scenes on sets or somewhere out in the world. But that sometimes gets lost in the magical digitalization through which most of this comes to us. But at the MFA, I was in a repository of real, immediate, touchable art.

On the Easel

This frigid January day finds me working on a number of pieces. I'm rotating them out to let the paint dry and to keep myself engaged. Doing this also gives me time to mentally work through any problems that I run into as I'm painting. The detail of the ship is for an art festival I'll be participating in. It's in Albuquerque in March and I'll be bringing this and a van load of other paintings to sell, many of which haven't been completed (or started) yet. I'm having fun with these feathers. I think I'm going to carve up that wood, too. ship These last two details are from a pair of constellations I'm working on for my church, and they're supposed to convey the main themes of the book of Mark. I'm still not sure whether they're going to work or not, but I think I'm getting close. My idea is to illustrate the difference between the Messiah the Jews expected and the Messiah that actually came, highlighting those differences through use of imagery and color and line. I used the same star field for both of these paintings, but the oak and the acorn use different stars to make up their constellations - the larger, brighter stars make up the oak, and the smaller, less significant stars make up the acorn. As I said, a work in progress. tree acorn   On a side note, after I worked up the tree I decided I like painting constellations and so I'm going to do a quick series of them. Not real constellations, of course. Fake ones. Follow Jamin on Instagram Follow Jamin on Facebook

Song of the Week: “The City of the Lord” by Jeremy Casella

Jeremy Casella, an original member of the Square Pegs, is one of Nashville's great under-discovered (certainly not undiscovered) singer-songwriters. Last year's Death in Reverse, inspired by N. T. Wright's Surprised by Hope made the best-of lists of a lot of folks, and this this epic, soaring, U2-style anthem is one of the reasons why. Jeremy is playing an intimate house show this Saturday night at North Wind Manor, with special guest Andrew Osenga. Come out and enjoy the show. Tickets are available here. And this week you can use coupon code "DeathUndone" to get $2.00 off the purchase of Death in Reverse. "The City of the Lord" from Death in Reverse by Jeremy Casella [audio:CityoftheLord.mp3] The song that shakes the solid ground Should come as no surprise Every secret on the table laid bare No place to hide Heaven knows and names the sound That draws me from my grave You’ll know the weight of glory When it whispers you awake And you’re always waiting Always waiting, for how long? Always waiting, for how long? Always waiting here Your body lying on the ground Still I hold you in my arms I’m with you when you’re weeping And I hold you through the dawn Come on now love I made a promise Let me show you what it’s all about When you love someone Just hold on a little longer Let me help you with your wedding gown We’ll go slow dancing through the wreckage Slow dancing now, slow There’s a name that hold us both together The diamond ring, the vow, the ties that bind And there’s a place we’re bound to be forever A city squared as long as it is wide Heaven knows and names (Heaven knows and names) How many lovers has your heart been chasing? Who never left you at the altar waiting? I know it hurts too much to talk about it You’d rather stuff it down than scream or shout it You could be lost and never know it But you’re mine and I’m bound to show it Gave you my Word and you’ll know the sound Oh at the last when I bring it on down Bring it on down oh in it’s time I’m gonna bring it on down Slow dancing… How many lovers has your heart been chasing? Who never left you at the altar waiting? I know it hurts too much to talk about it You’d rather stuff it down than scream or shout it You could be lost and never know it Until the last I bring it on down The City of God The City of the Lord Come on now love I made a promise Let me show you what it’s all about When you love someone Just hold on a little longer Let me help you with your wedding gown Slow dancing through the wreckage The song that shakes the solid ground Should come as no surprise Every secret on the table laid bare No place to hide Heaven knows and names the sound That draws me from my grave You’ll know the weight of glory When it whispers you awake And you’re always waiting Always waiting, for how long? Always waiting, for how long? Always waiting here Your body lying on the ground Still I hold you in my arms I’m with you when you’re weeping And I hold you through the dawn Come on now love I made a promise Let me show you what it’s all about When you love someone Just hold on a little longer Let me help you with your wedding gown We’ll go slow dancing through the wreckage Slow dancing now, slow There’s a name that hold us both together The diamond ring, the vow, the ties that bind And there’s a place we’re bound to be forever A city squared as long as it is wide Heaven knows and names (Heaven knows and names) How many lovers has your heart been chasing? Who never left you at the altar waiting? I know it hurts too much to talk about it You’d rather stuff it down than scream or shout it You could be lost and never know it But you’re mine and I’m bound to show it Gave you my Word and you’ll know the sound Oh at the last when I bring it on down Bring it on down oh in it’s time I’m gonna bring it on down Slow dancing… How many lovers has your heart been chasing? Who never left you at the altar waiting? I know it hurts too much to talk about it You’d rather stuff it down than scream or shout it You could be lost and never know it Until the last I bring it on down The City of God The City of the Lord Come on now love I made a promise Let me show you what it’s all about When you love someone Just hold on a little longer Let me help you with your wedding gown Slow dancing through the wreckage

Author Interview: Russ Ramsey on Behold the King

[Editor's note: Behold the King of Glory is now available for pre-order in the Rabbit Room store.] We’re just around the corner from the release of Russ Ramsey’s book, Behold the King of Glory: A Narrative of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In forty short chapters (just right for devotional reading), Russ tells the story of the Gospels. What I have said before about Behold the Lamb I say again about Behold the King:

Russ Ramsey tells a story you've heard a hundred times and still haven't heard enough. With remarkable attention to the facts of the matter, Russ brings to life the story that brings us to life. Here is glory made visible, tangible, audible. Which is to say, here is the Incarnation.

Russ and I recently had a chat about Behold the King, three-legged dogs, and the Millennium Falcon.

MLK to American Christians

I'm stealing this from Dave Bruno's blog because it's awesome and he forgot to post it here. Carve out a few minutes this evening, click the link below, and read Dr. King's sermon, "Paul's Letter to American Christians." Happy MLK Day. Click here to read the full sermon.

A Month by the Sea: Finding Solitude

Sunday before last [editor's note: It's now been quite a few Sundays before last], I stood on the airstrip of this little island of ours and watched a single-engine prop plane take off and disappear into the clouds. I felt very much like a heroine in an old black-and-white movie---and suddenly very alone. For Philip was on that plane, a kind pilot friend having offered to spirit him back to the city for the work week, and I was facing the prospect of camping all by myself for six whole days. Not that I was adverse to the plan---it was one of the things that’s making this time by the sea a possibility, and I am grateful, not only to my husband, but to our friend, whose generosity both simplified our scheme and gave Philip a good, old-fashioned adventure. (“You’ve got to see the marshes from the air,” he keeps telling me. “You’ll never look at them the same way again after viewing them from 1000 feet.”) Nor was I necessarily opposed to the prospect of so many days of aloneness: Solitude and I are old friends, and here was certainly an opportunity to renew her acquaintance in an entirely new way. Nevertheless, it was hard to think of being here in this loved place without the one whom my soul loves, and as I stood there under a leaden sky, with the wind snapping my skirt against my legs, a funny little desolation crept over me. I listened until the plane was out of earshot, then I walked slowly back across the runway to my car. The Airstream seemed so empty, even with a nine-month old puppy in residence---if 24 feet of aluminum-sheathed trailer can echo, I swear they did that day. And so, I did what any rational female would do: I sat down on the sofa and had a little cry. After that, I pulled myself together and made a Plan.

Epiphanytide, and a proposal concerning your day job

Once upon a time, many long years ago and in a land far, far away, a group of astrologers observed a stellar anomaly. "Look," said one. "That star. It doesn't usually appear there, does it?" The others nodded and murmured general agreement. What happened next is a matter for speculation only. Maybe the astrologers had a group epiphany about the significance of the star's odd location in the night sky. Maybe they held a council to debate its significance. Maybe they ran a series of tests, or deferred to the judgment of the eldest or wisest man of their cadre. Whatever their procedure, we do have from St. Matthew a surviving scrap of testimony about their conclusion: A boy had been born King of the Jews. The astrologers gathered some suitable gifts and set out westward toward the land of Judea; and, after consulting with King Herod and the priests and legal scholars in Jerusalem, found the Man Born to be King in a house in Bethlehem. That was over two thousand years ago. And to this day, much of the Western Church keeps an annual feast---Epiphany---where we re-tell the story of the first revelation of Jesus the Messiah to the Gentiles, a story foretold by Isaiah the prophet: "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising."[1] Among other things, the story is notable for the vocation of its Gentiles: astrology, a vocation mocked for its futility by everyone from that same Isaiah the prophet[2] to the Onion. Indeed those Gentiles would never have got going, but for their vocation. Hold that thought for a moment.

Released: The Molehill Vol. 3

If you are a 2014 Rabbit Room member, your copy of The Molehill Vol. 3 is presently speeding its way toward your mailbox. If you are a 2015 Rabbit Room member, your copy of The Molehill Vol. 3 along with your membership card, membership certification, and 2015 Rabbit Room mug will depart the launch facility tomorrow morning and rocket its way toward your doorstep with terrifying rapidity. If you pre-ordered The Molehill Vol. 3, your copy will likewise achieve launch velocity tomorrow morning. If you are none of the above, heaven help you. You are missing out on one heck of a great collection of poetry, short stories, non-fiction, recipes, and other work by a whole slew of Rabbit Room word-engineers. Consider the following: ---a ghost story by Lanier Ivester ---a folk tale by Walter Wangerin, Jr. ---a piece of creative non-fiction about an art heist by Russ Ramsey ---new poetry by Luci Shaw, Andrew Peterson, Chris Yokel, Jen Rose Yokel, Russ Ramsey, Jonathan Rogers, and Sir Richard Roland ---Recipes by Lewis Graham (illustrated by Jennifer Trafton) ---A work of illustrated short fiction (in five parts) by Jamin Still ---A collaborative piece of cartoon poetry by Jen Rose Yokel and Jonny Jimison ---A never-before-published essay by G. K. Chesterton ---Let me say that last one again---a never-before-published essay by Gilbert Keith Chesterton!---(not even on the interwebs!) And there's even more. It's enough to cram your brain so full of good reading that it's entirely likely your head will explode and we'll have to call the school janitor to sprinkle that weird powder all over the puddle that used to be your head. We're sorry if that happens, but you can't say you weren't warned. Click here to order your copy of The Molehill Vol. 3. We'll aim it your way and hit the bright red candy-like launch button with reckless abandon and frightening alacrity. We swear it.