Stuff Christians Like

Welcome SCL fans!

While there may be no better way, around here at least, to stir up a good debate among Christians than to question the merits of hymns versus praise chori, I do not want to stir up a good debate right now. (And “chori” is the Latin pluralization of chorus, so it’s holier than “choruses”.)

I wrote this blog post mostly to send my regular readers, some of whom don’t regularly check SCL, to SCL. For my regular readers who are not familiar with the acronym SCL: it is short for Stuff Christians Like. Jon runs that blog and was gracious enough publish a guest post that I wrote.

But so that you, dear SCL reader who followed the link from there to here in the hopes that you would be further amused, are not disappointed, I will provide you with one bit of praise chori humor.

image of the Blues Brothers saying that this church plays both types of music - praise and worship

Click on the picture for a slightly larger version. If you’re not familiar with the Blues Brothers, then it probably doesn’t make much sense to you.

I am sure that there is an SCL post waiting to be written on this subject, but I’ll let someone else run with it. I’m all creativitied-out for today.

Praise the LORD!Sing to the LORD a new song,And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.

Psalm 149:1

Album Certification for Christians

RIAA certifies numbers of albums sold and gives awards for various levels of achievement.

If an album sells more than …

  • 500,000 copies, it is certified Gold.
  • 1,000,000 copies, it is certified Platinum.
  • 10,000,000 copies, it is certified Diamond.

What is the Christian equivalent to RIAA certification?

It’s not the GMA Dove Awards, as those are vote-driven not sales-driven.

The closest thing I found was the CMTA SoundScan, but you have to buy a subscription if you want to know the sales numbers. So I don’t know the Christian music sales numbers, nor do I know if there are awards at various stages of sales achievement.

The RIAA people don’t give awards that are explicitly Biblical. Christians need an equivalent to the worldly awards. There are Christian music associations, so why not more Christian awards?

Therefore, I propose a Biblical rating system for album sales. If an album sells more than …

  • 200,000 copies, it is certified Gold.
  • 500,000 copies, it is certified Frankincense.
  • 1,000,000 copies, it is certified Myrrh.

Notice I made the numbers smaller too. That wasn’t done to be more Biblical; that was done so that musicians in the GMA/CMTA realm could make the cutoff.

I’ll keep you, loyal reader, updated if anything ever comes of my proposal.

After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 2:11

Maranatha Lesson

The topic of the week at our time at Maranatha during our vacation was relationships. The speaker was Ron Zappia, whose bio in the link I just provided accurately reflects his speaking style. I bet he wrote that himself.

He gave a week’s worth of sermons, complete with illustrations (literal drawings – he used markers and a sketchpad on an easel). I am not going to recap everything here, but I will go over one particular point.

Without self-examination, there can be no self-control.
Ron Zappia

That’s good, but that’s only half the equation of self-control. People need to see themselves honestly, but they shouldn’t be looking at just themselves. How does what I’m doing affect others?

That goes along with one of my favorite quotes about self-esteem:

Kids don’t need more self-esteem; they need more others-esteem.
I forget who

That’s what I see as one of my tasks as a parent – get my kids to see that what they do does affect other people. If it helps them, then they should do more of what they’re doing. If it hurts them, then they should not do it. Be aware of more than just yourself.

But that strays slightly from Pastor Zappia’s point, which is that you need to be aware of yourself first. If you don’t think you’re doing something, then you won’t check how it affects others.

So two points for raising kids (the process of which I am merely beginning): get them to recognize their own actions/attitudes and get them to recognize the effects those have on others.

I suppose the third point should be to get them to change the behaviors that are not good.

“But how do I get my kids to do that?” you may be wondering.

I am wondering that too.

If I ever get the answer, I’ll let you know.

Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways!”

Haggai 1:7

Raspberry Picking

picture of a u-pick raspberry farmWe did the blueberry picking thing a couple weeks ago. Now raspberries are in season, so we picked some of those.

Rather, I picked raspberries and the children just held the baskets for me.

Maybe there were too many bees buzzing around. I told the boys that they won’t sting you unless you hurt them, but they were very wary of picking after seeing all the bees. And it was very hot. We spent about a half hour picking raspberries, but it felt much, much longer.

picture of a u-pick raspberry farmAlpha just wanted to go home.

I had to carry Gamma the whole time because I did not want to clean squished raspberries off every surface within his reach. I did set him down at the beginning – because he did a fine job at blueberry picking – to see if he would help with raspberry picking. But it took one raspberry to see the damage he could do.

And Beta just wasn’t interested in picking berries. Worse than that, he was actively taking berries out of the basket and throwing them as far as he could.

I asked him why he was doing that, and he said he was getting rid of the squishy ones. He meant well, trying to weed out the bad berries. But, as Alpha then reminded him, all raspberries are squishy. I told him just to leave all the raspberries alone and I would sort them at home.

We finally finished, after about 20 reminders to the kids that the more berries they pick, the faster we’ll be done and the sooner we can go back home.

Did I mention it was hot?

Back home, I sorted the raspberries and found a stowaway.

picture of a bug on a fresh raspberry

I quickly disposed of him, and any raspberries that had any dark fuzzy spots. Those went in the garbage. Any raspberries that were not moldy but were just on the too-ripe side of things I also disposed of. Those went in my belly.

And now, some gratuitous close-up shots of fruit, compliments of the macro setting on my camera…

picture of fresh raspberries tumbling out of a box

picture of fresh raspberries up close

In case you’re wondering about the trends in U-pick berries: 3.25 lbs. cost $12.50, so that’s about $3.85 per lb. Last year, they cost $3.75/lb. So it looks like raspberries cost more this year, and blueberries cost less this year.

Side note: When my wife was looking up U-Pick places, we wondered what else could be U-picked. So after a little research, we found a U-pick chicken farm. They also have U-pick rabbits and U-pick fish.

I wish someone would have a drive-thru u-pick place. I would donate them some letters so they could upgrade to a drive-through you-pick place.

Why have You broken down its hedges, So that all who pass that way pick its fruit?

Psalm 80:12

Family Conversations, Part 12


My wife was sitting at the computer. She saw me walk in and asked “Do you want me to check your email for you?

It was a helpful gesture, but she had never asked that before so I had a somewhat surprised look on my face.

Before I could give an answer, she responded to my puzzlement with “What? you didn’t want me to do that? Why not? What are you hiding from me?” which was meant in a humorous, not suspicious, manner.

We both heard Alpha pipe up from the other room: “chocolate!
which is funny because I don’t recall ever having hidden any chocolate from my wife, let alone telling Alpha about it.


After dinner, Alpha came running into the living room – “Dadda, Gamma made a mess!

Sure enough, Gamma, who was secured in his high chair because he was still finishing his meal, had dumped Parmesan cheese on his tray and on the floor.

Quite a mess.

But wait, the Parmesan cheese wasn’t anywhere near Gamma when I left the table. And he can’t open the top either.

Me: “Alpha, how did he get the cheese?

I gave it to him.
And did you open the top for him too?
Then go get the broom and dustpan and sweep it up.

The kids sure are good at trying to get the other one in trouble.

He said to him, “Far from it, you shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. So why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!”

1 Samuel 20:2

Sand Sculpture Contest

One of the things about Maranatha is that they have contests almost every day (at 2:00 at the beach). They announce the contest in the morning (disc golf, water balloon catch, etc.) so that you can prepare yourself for the afternoon contest. I think if they wanted more participants they would also advertise that the winners get free ice cream (which they do, but for some reason that is never announced).

Anyway, the one contest in which I participated (along with other family members) was the sand sculpture contest. My brother-in-law spent some time that week browsing the internet researching sand sculptures, and he found one that was amusing. It was someone’s head.

sand sculpture of a woman's head

You put a bucket on its side (mouth), pile up sand around it, and put seaweed on top (hair). Then you just have to make eyes and a nose somehow. Even though it isn’t 100% sand, you do use items that are normally found on a beach.

So when the announcer guy said “Today’s contest is the sand sculpture contest.” we were prepared. Then he added that they had a theme for the contest – the sculptures should be patriotic in nature. Or was it American? Either way, there was a specific theme and all we had were plans for someone’s head.

We went ahead (get it?) and built it anyway:

sand sculpture of a lady's head

But to make it patriotic, we added some words: “God Bless America”

sand sculpture of a woman singing God Bless America

There, now it’s not just any lady – it’s Kate Smith!

Maybe not the most flattering representation of her, but an honoring tribute nonetheless. And very patriotic.

picture of the a Kate Smith sand sculpturepicture of the a Kate Smith stamp

Plus the judges liked it.

On a totally unrelated note: Next year, if the theme allows, I have plans for a great Jabba the Hutt sand sculpture.

It was carved with cherubim and palm trees; and a palm tree was between cherub and cherub, and every cherub had two faces,

Ezekiel 41:18

Tree Climbers Guild

I was reminiscing about my early years in college and thought I would look up what the internet had to say about the band Tree Climbers Guild. Since there was no information out there, I get to write something. Now whatever I write will become the definitive guide to TCG.


Tree Climbers Guild was an award-winning band from Cedarville College in the mid 1990s.

The award was the Alpha Chi talent show, in case you were curious. Might not matter to anyone outside of the Cedarville family, but it was a big deal back then. It propelled TCG to fame and fortune. The fortune was, if I remember correctly, $100 for winning the talent show. TCG then put that $100 into studio time, produced an album, and sold a bunch of cassettes.

It had to be in the dozens, maybe even hundreds.

Here is their debut album: conclusion of the matter

picture of the Tree Climbers Guild cassette tape

I think that was their only album. The artwork, in case you can’t quite make it out, is a tombstone with a rose lying across the grave bed.

Here is the side of the cassette tape:

picture of the Tree Climbers Guild cassette tape

And here is the back of the tape:

picture of the Tree Climbers Guild cassette tape

Here is the outside of the album cover/liner thing:

picture of the Tree Climbers Guild cassette tape

And here is the inside, the liner notes and all the lyrics:

picture of the Tree Climbers Guild cassette tape liner notes

I am not going to type out the lyrics (go on, click on the picture to enlarge it and read for yourself), but here are all the song titles (aka discography, although it might be more appropriate to call it a cassettography or a tapography):

Side 1

  • ghost of the coyote
  • flight of the unsure soul
  • never ending dream
  • you are not
  • the hungry sea
  • as we stand

Side 2

  • maybe tomorrow
  • seventeen to my plateau
  • silver burning
  • foreign ground
  • conclusion of the matter
  • evening reverie

Bonus feature:
Riding on the coattails of the success of TCG was Somewhere In a Box. Since that tape was next to TCG in my collection, I will post its pictures here for fun.

picture of the Somewhere in a Box cassette tape

picture of the Somewhere in a Box cassette tape

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.

Ecclesiastes 12:13