When Great Musicians Do Christmas

So if you’ve been anywhere or done anything in some sort of public arena in the last week, you’ve undoubtedly heard Christmas music. Even with the high today being 77 down here in Arizona, I’m still surrounded by it. Some of it is great, others are simply terrible. (I was going to link to Justin Bieber’s Christmas CD but I refuse to make it easier for anyone to buy it). So today is a special edition of Music Monday Wednesday to celebrate good artists and the Christmas music they produce. A few of these are covers of classic Christmas songs with a couple of originals (not by me, but other bands doing originals). Enjoy!

“O Come O Come Emmanuel” – The Civil Wars

“In the Bleak Midwinter” – The Indigo Girls (there’s a little intro, but if you skip to about 50 seconds in, you’ll still catch all of it.)

“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” – Sixpence None the Richer

“Winter Song” – Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson

“Christmas Lights” – Coldplay

“Sister Winter” – Sufjan Stevens

It has come to my attention that I seem to move toward sad, lonely Christmas songs. I assure this isn’t some kind of passive-aggressive, subliminal cry for help. I just think these songs are beautiful.

And ring way more true than anything Justin Bieber could ever create. That’s all I’m going to say on that. I don’t want to get in some online fisticuffs with a 14-year old girl scorn for the Biebs.

Anyways… Hope you enjoyed the Christmas music.

Did you have any favorites? Which ones stuck out to you? What are your favorites that aren’t on this post? Post them and let me know! I’m always in the market for good new music.

Have a great Wednesday!


The Meaning of Advent in 2 Minutes

So I was going to write out a rather detailed explanation of exactly what the season of Advent means and why we celebrate it and do a little “history meets today” bit. But then I found a video that does it a lot better than I could. So if you’ve ever wondered why we celebrate Advent, or if Advent is like Lent but more Christmas-y, or what’s with the candles… this video is for you. Hope you enjoy!

What did you think? Was this a helpful way to look toward Advent? I always find it’s fun to learn something new.

And now you have a remixed version of the Sugar Plum Fairy song stuck in your head. You’re welcome.


Can An Introvert Be a Leader?

I have a confession to make. I, Eric Clapp, am an introvert.

Whew! That feels good to get off of my chest. There seems to be a bias toward extroverted people in positions of leadership. If you’re a leader, people just assume you love to talk to people all of the time. I find this to be particularly true in ministry settings. With five worship services a weekend, in some cases, the social demands of that kind of work for an introvert can be quite taxing. For awhile I wrestled with the question of whether I should be a pastor at all. You have to deal with an awful lot of people if you’re going to be a pastor.

But, alas, here I am. A pastor. And doing okay at it. Maybe it’s because I have this writing as my outlet of ideas, the pressure release, of sorts, for my introversion. As an introvert (and a 3 on the Enneagram scale), I found it would be best if I made a plan. So before I started my internship I made a list of 5 goals to help me learn about leadership from the perspective of an introvert.

1. Schedule downtime. — For at least one hour everyday, I shut everything down and read. That’s my re-charge time. And if I don’t actively schedule it, it can so easily fall by the wayside. That’s my “me” time.

2. When planning meetings, plan to break them up as to avoid one, long period of sitting and talking. — Being the intern, I don’t plan too many meetings. More the attendee. But when I do, or even when I’m planning something like a confirmation class, I break it up into smaller segments so it’s not as exhausting.

3. Be self-aware. — The one bad thing about being an introvert in a social setting is that it can often be interpreted as me being an uninterested jerk. Not the case. Self-awareness is key in so many things, but it’s specifically key for making sure you are not being perceived as something you don’t intend to be.

4. Don’t feel pressure to be constantly social in large group gatherings. Listen first. Speak later. — Listening is a pretty rare art in public discourse these days. Introverts can be very successful leaders because they spend a lot of time observing their surroundings and listening to what people say. This has the capability of giving a pretty unique perspective.

5. When your reaching your limit, feel free to take a walk. — Whenever I feel myself up against the threshold of my social limit, I have found that taking a walk can be the best way to get an immediate re-charge if it isn’t time for the hour of downtime. Just the movement and quiet of taking a walk can help reconnect and debrief, particularly during a long day of meetings.

So can an introvert lead? Absolutely! Does it take some pretty intentional work? Yes, it does. But I think in the end, there are some special gifts that are highlighted in introverts that have the ability to make very quality leaders.

I want to say feel free to join the conversation, but being a fellow introvert, it’s completely okay if you don’t. I understand.


Best Cartoon I’ve Seen In Awhile

Check out this great cartoon that I saw on the website for St. Thomas The Doubter last week. This is what perspective feels like, people?

What do you think? I always get a kick out of cartoons when they speak truth like this. Have a great rest of your Thanksgiving weekend!


E.E. Cummings and Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving I am sending my gratitude from the beaches of San Diego. This year has been incredible and I’m looking down the barrel of a pretty incredible 2012 as well. Between finishing up the academic part of seminary, writing and presenting a thesis, successfully completing CPE… Then there’s that whole getting married and starting my internship thing. It’s been a great year. That being said, this E.E. Cummings poem has been circling my brain thinking about gratitude.

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

In light of all that is happening in the world this year, I think we could all do worse than being thankful for awakened ears and opened eyes.

How are you spending this Thanksgiving? What are you thankful for?

Let’s make a deal — if you have some extra turkey for me, I’ll have some extra coconut shrimp for you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


%d bloggers like this: