random thoughts on music of all kinds

Q Marks the Spot 137 (March 2020)

Sacred Treasure There has been much heat and hurt recently about power abuse and church ministry. It is something that I've been working on and engaging with for the last 10 years or so. Here are some of the better…

Continue Reading Q Marks the Spot 137 (March 2020)

Q Marks the Spot 136 (February 2020)

Sacred Treasure This is an extraordinary story that reads like a whodunnit: the stolen early manuscript of Mark? (long read but worth it)I'm an unashamed John Dickson fan - his new book on the historical Jesus looks great: here he…

Continue Reading Q Marks the Spot 136 (February 2020)

Q Marks the Spot 134 (December 2019)

Sacred Treasure One man mission - a fascinating story about reviving Welsh chapels - and fascinating it gets such a high profile on the BBCJames Hannam has written one of my favourite books of history (God's Philosophers: How the Mediaeval…

Continue Reading Q Marks the Spot 134 (December 2019)

Q Marks the Spot 131 (September 2019)

Sacred Treasure The Josh Harris 'deconversion' story (for those who are aware) is very sad and my heart goes out to him and his family. Too many have leapt in as pundits. These are the better responses I've readOn Caution…

Continue Reading Q Marks the Spot 131 (September 2019)

Q Marks The Spot: Treasure Map 129 (July 2019)

Sacred Treasure If you've not clocked this great little radio series by Nick Spencer, then you must: The Secret History of Science and Religion.Some very surprising realities about global Christianity (esp for those who only follow secular media) - HT…

Continue Reading Q Marks The Spot: Treasure Map 129 (July 2019)

Q Combinations 21: The big IF of Easter (from AE Housman & Eugène Burnand)

There is an emotional complexity to this wonderful painting by Swiss artist Eugène Burnand. I know very little about him, apart from the usual resort of Wikipedia. But he manages to capture a moment of almost frantic inquisitiveness, as Peter and his young, fellow-disciple John rush in the golden sunrise light to the burial garden. Their faces seem filled with anxiety, confusion, hope, wonder, and longing all at once. Hoping against hope, but fearing a con, or something worse? Could Mary Magdalene, first to visit the tomb, possibly have been right...?

Continue Reading Q Combinations 21: The big IF of Easter (from AE Housman & Eugène Burnand)

A song of lament, a need for songs

Q regulars know that Turkey is a country close to my heart. I have just returned from my 15th (!) trip and so naturally it preoccupies my thoughts a great deal at the moment. During my previous trip, I'd heard…

Continue Reading A song of lament, a need for songs

Q Marks The Spot – Treasure Map 124 (February 2019)

Sacred Treasure Only just discovered the Visual Commentary on Scripture this week - WOW! Something that only the internet can make possible! Lots to explore here... Sam Allberry is onto something very important here: why do churches end up with…

Continue Reading Q Marks The Spot – Treasure Map 124 (February 2019)

The flicker of a smile from the unsmiling man

Shostakovich is a personal hero of mine. He walked a tightrope between the Gulag and compromise in the vortex of Stalinist Russia. But more than that, his music has brought me consolation, invigoration, provocation, and perplexity. Sometimes all at once.…

Continue Reading The flicker of a smile from the unsmiling man