Easter and The Passion of Jesus Messiah

Listening to NPR a few days ago, they referred to this week as the holiest week of the Christian year.  The more formal elements of our Christian world observe the elements of this week with ritual and reverence.  Living in the southern United States, dominated by born again protestantism, this week does not stand out on the calendar as a holy week.  Some schools close on Good Friday but work does not stop for much of society.  Even those who take the time from school or work usually engage in more hustle and bustle, with Easter egg hunts, family gatherings and Easter feasts.

We “born agains” argue that we celebrate Easter everyday in our prayers and our worship and our quiet times. Maybe so, but just because we appreciate someone every day does not preclude us from pausing the flow of our daily lives to contemplate and celebrate.

We are closing for the weekend here at one21music.  If you came to watch some videos or catch-up on American Idol, welcome.  We encourage to take the few minutes you set aside enjoy the world that is being created by Christian musicians to contemplate Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter.

Everyone of our lives changed forever on this weekend so many century ago.  We were all changed by the love of a God who refused to give up on us and the courage of a man who was willing to stand up and suffer the horrors of eternal sin for us.

The Passion of Easter

Colossians 1
15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Help Men As Trees Walking Make A New Record

Progressive/tribal/worship band Men as Trees Walking have started a Kickstarter campaign to help with the costs of mastering and manufacturing their next CD. Men As Trees Walking are part of the Come&Live! family, and as such much of their income from the band comes in the form of donations and love offerings. We had a chance to see these guys at Cornerstone this year, and it is obvious that God speaks through their music and their ministry. As a Body, these are the kinds of things that we need to rally around, because all of us are not called to do what Men As Trees Walking. Right now, you can support them and their ministry, so watch the video below and follow the link to their Kickstarter to see what all of this is about.

Support Men As Trees Walking on their Kickstarter campaign

Happy Christmas

There is the story of a virgin and a man of faith and a baby, and an inn keeper.  It is a glorious story with shepherds and kings and a star and we celebrate.  But John, in the first chapter of his Gospels gives us the meaning of Bethlehem and Mary and Joseph and the baby who has created  three centuries of chaotic peace:

“There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe  in His name who were born not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his Glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

God, the creator of all that we see, all that we can comprehend and all exceeds our imagination came to dwell among us and we celebrate THE historical turning point of all of man and this planet.  That is what we celebrate.  When I think of that, these presents, my figgy pudding and this silly sweater all seem insignificant.  What really matters is that everyone one of you, whether you call yourself a Christian or you don’t, seek the Light and the Word and accept the full gift of this holiday.

God, Jesus Christ, came to us, to live with us, experience this world as we experience it and then to die for His children.  Accept His perfect gift and spend the rest of your life growing in the light.

Happy Christmas from your friends at One21music: Ian, Debbie, Rebecca and me.  All glory to God, Praise Him.

A Week To Celebrate

Hey guys, Im taking a break from the site this week. My wedding anniversary, my birthday, and Thanksgiving have all landed in the same week this year, so Im going to take it easy this week. Be sure to pick up this weeks releases on Black Friday, and go check out my interview with Heath McNease in the meantime. Have a great week
-Ian Harvey

The Living Legacy of Christmas

This has been a most unique Christmas for us. My mother died this year. This was my family’s first Christmas without the heart and soul of Christmas celebrations. As we enjoyed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Father and my sister’s family, I was struck by my Mother’s presence in our celebrations. The joy of our feast and our gift giving and our family’s laughter were handed down from my mother. She was there with us.

On Christmas we enjoyed a beautiful candlelight service that included The Lord’s Supper. This very special tradition is handed down from our Lord and when we celebrate in this way, we are touching God in a intimate way.

Christ is with us in a way my Mother can never be. More than in these traditions, our Lord is living with us everyday.

My hope for all is that through our Christmas activities and rituals we all experience Christ and the joy his arrival inspired then and continues to inspire 2000 years later.

Happy Christmas.

2010: My Fast From Secular Music

A lot has changed for me this year. In 2009, my wife and I moved to a new apartment, I started The One21 Music, my grandmother passed on, I met some great new friends, reconnected with some old ones, started a band, went to SXSW for the first time (really), grew my beard out (epic), did a ton of interviews, saw some amazing music, tried to buy a house and failed, and celebrated my 3rd year of marriage. There was a lot more, but those are some of big points for me. 2009 has been eventful to say the least.

The other night, my wife and I were sitting in our office on our separate computers (she’s a Mac, Im a PC), and as usual, we were listening to music. Our usual routine is to listen to all the new music we have consumed and rate the songs as they play, so at least we know we have listened to every song in our library at least once. As we were listening to the latest batch of unlistened songs, she commented that I was listening to a lot more Christian music. Now, I have never really kept count, but she went on to say that I have also been listening to a lot more worship, contemporary, and deeply spiritual music since I have been writing for One21. I almost didn’t agree with her until I started putting together my “Best of 09″ list and compared it to last years. In 2008, my top 20 only contained three albums made by Christian artists; but in 2009, 13 of the albums are made by artists we cover on this website. It would seem that (like most times), my wife was right.

So what has changed? Was 2009 just an amazing year for Christ-centered music? Was it a really bad year for secular music? Was I only buying more music by believers because I was doing this website? To tell you the truth, I don’t know many of those answers, but I do know that I prefer most of the music on my list from 2009 over my list from 2008 (sorry Protest The Hero, Manchester Orchestra is awesome).

So it would seem that one of the things in my life that has changed the most is that I am not as interested in secular music as I used to be, and in fact despite a few shining stars this year (Brother Ali, St. Vincent), I’m rather bored with it. Most secular music for me lacks depth now. You see, the whole reason we started this site is because Chuck and I earnestly believe that some of the best music in the world is being made by Christians. Brothers and sisters who share our faith, and create art from a passionate heart changed by an all loving God. I really feel that my migration towards a steady diet of “Christian music” has been a positive one, and it stems out of my yearning to hear something real and innovative coming through my speakers.

So, I have decided to put our theory to practice: and for one year, in 2010; I, Ian Harvey am not going to purchase, download, or receive any secular music of any sort.

Now, I feel like I need to explain this a little so you understand a bit. First of all, in this 5th paragraph, I will tell you what I am NOT saying. This, self-imposed, fast from secular music does not mean that I am not going to LISTEN to any secular music. That is impossible, music is everywhere, and it should be. That would also mean that there would be a large portion of my music collection (14148 songs and counting; all legal baby!) that I would have to avoid like the plague. This would also mean that I wouldn’t be able to listen to music at work (my other job), and that isn’t going to happen either. If you think about it though, most people listen to the newest stuff they have in the library the most, so in all reality I wont be listening to a LOT of secular music, because all the NEW music I will be obtaining will be from Christian artists.

Let’s think about this from a logical point of view for a minute. We are in a recession, and times are hard. Read any paper, and you will see that people simply are not buying much anymore, because there isn’t much to buy things WITH. Music is one of my addictions, it is rare if a week goes by and I don’t obtain at least ONE new album, and most times it is more than that. While I don’t always BUY all the music I have in my computer (you know those free downloads we put up, I download them too; and I have become once a week visitor to Nosetrade.com, so that has been helping), but my resources are limited as well. So why wouldn’t I want to devote all those resources towards a group of artists that I believe are creating THE BEST product? If I really believe the stuff I have been writing about on this site, why wouldn’t I throw my full support at artists like Brooke Waggoner, Listener Project, So Long Forgotten, and The Chariot?

So this is what I am going to do. In 2010, all the NEW music that makes it into my library will be from artists who are Christ followers. I honestly feel that God is going to do something in me because of this, but I don’t know what quite yet. I feel like I have come a long way this year, so I’m going to keep running with it.

Here is the other thing, the WHOLE REASON I AM WRITING THIS BLOG: I want you to join me. I feel personally called to cleanse my palette (if you will) this year, and I also feel like there is somebody out there who feels the same. It’s not that the secular music we listen to is HORRIBLE (I’m gonna miss the new NIN record….just kidding), its just that we feel that God wants us to be encouraged by this, and to encourage the artists who share our faith to continue to keep doing what they are doing. It means that maybe you are going to have to wait on some music you want. It means that you are going to have to dig deeper into this music scene. You may even have to listen to some STYLES of music you have never really given a chance before. Maybe you will have to alter what you consider to be “Christian music”

But hey, at least you have a good website that can help you with some of that….

For some clarification on what I consider to be “Christian music”, please read the article The Many Facets of The Christian Music .

Please pray for me as I go through this next year, and maybe consider trying it out. I mean, I know we are not promised tomorrow, but it IS only a year commitment. Who knows though, maybe in 2011, you will be as let down by secular music as I am.

Fatherhood On A Day

A father, a son and a believer, I have so many experiences of the beauty and exhilaration of fatherhood.  I have been blessed.  My father set a beautiful example.  I have been able to enjoy my sons all the way into their young adult lives.  I stand in the transcendent glow of our heavenly Father, no matter if I am the obedient or prodigal son.  So I put forth these ideas, not as an expert, but as an exuberant practitioner.

Three Simple Steps To Real Fatherhood

Be There- The deepest magic of fatherhood is to be present.  When my boys were just starting elementary school I changed jobs from one in which I worked 65 hours per week to one in which I worked 45 hours per week.  The block building, morning breakfasts and cloud watching is where the magic happens.

Enjoy- Enjoy what your kids enjoy.  I am a sport fanatic, my father hates sports.  He cannot tell you the winner of any Super Bowl, World Series or World Cup.  However, the stories of his Madden-like exuberance when I was playing football are legendary.

Teach- Through you words and your actions, teach your kids to be strong, to be kind, to be thrifty,to be curious, to be patient, to be determined and to love God.  Teach you children with words.  Share your principles with your kids, discuss the messages they are receiving from the world, share stories from you life and share God’s word.  Speaking values into your sons and daughters them will help them interpret the world around them, but your actions will cement their values.  Show your children how to live in this world by proudly allowing them to see how you live in this world.  Dave Ramsey said, “when you face challenges on your knees, your children will learn to pray.”

Fatherhood For The Fatherless

I know I am deeply blessed with a wonderful father. I am surrounded by family and friends who are not so fortunate. Those of you whose father abandoned you or ignored you or abused you or damaged you in some way, I have two thoughts for you.

Forgive-  This simple step will change your life.  I was in deep conflict with one of my sons.  He was in deep defiance of our rules for his life and over a three hour span of our argument he lied to my face more than a dozen times.  I knew  every lie and each was like a slash with a sword to me.  As he walked away from me, I stood there wounded, bleeding, devastated.  God spoke to me.  He said simply, “Forgive him, he is your child.”  I did.  Within 10 minutes my son had fallen into my arms begging for my forgiveness.  I had nothing but love for him, my wounds were already healed.

Your forgiveness will never take away the wrongs done to you.  Forgiving your father will not cause him to reconcile with you.  Forgiving, truly, deeply forgiving will heal you.  Here is a verse from mewithoutYou’s latest cd, it’s all crazy! it’s all false! it’s all a dream! it’s alright:

if you’re Old Man did you wrong,
maybe his Old Man did him wrong
so if you’d care to sing Forgiveness songs
come down and join our band
we’ll cut you like a Sword
and sing Forgiveness songs
(don’t worry, it’ll heal just fine)

Healing will change nothing, healing will transform you.  Healing will set you free.

Embrace- It matters not if your earthly father was great or a failure.  We are all wounded in some way.  God, our ultimate Father has created all and is present in our life.  God engages us with the simple mantra he spoke to me years ago, “Forgive him, he is your child.”  God is forgiving you now.  Look up, look inward, accept His forgiveness and love.  I don’t care if you are the most deeply religious church going father or you are lost and alone in this world.  Embrace our Father’s forgiveness.  You will be a transformed son,husband, father, brother, friend and man.  Nothing will change, but you will never be the same.

I dedicate this missive to Charles Elton Harvey of Vidor, Texas.  This kind, hardworking, stoic man showed me how to be a man and he is manifest in all that is the best in my sons.

Happy Father’s Day to all sons and fathers.

To Write Love On Her Arms

to-write-love on her arms

If you hope to understand the movement and the fashion that is To Write Love On Her Arms, you must understand the story. For some this is a story about depression, addiction and recovery.  For some it is the story of the fastest growing charitable organization ever.  For some it is the story of a clothing brand that exploded into the marketplace.  For some it is the story of how the underground Christian music scene fueled a social phenomenon.  It is all of those things but it is none of those things.

This is the story of a girl who was finally willing to accept love and found life.  This is the story of a man who was willing to share Christ’s love, with five days of  his life, and was handed a mission.

Renee Yohe, a 19 year-old drug and alcohol addict and cutter, had rejected love to the point she had attempted suicide twice.  But in February 2006, Renee was convinced to accept the pleas of Jamie Tworkowski and his friends from church to enter rehab.  However, because of Renee’s drug tests and wounds she inflicted upon herself during the admittance process, the rehab center delayed her admission for five days until she detoxed.

Jamie and his friends knew this may be their last chance to help Renee and feared she might not live another five days, so they became her Church and lived with her during her five day detox and preparation for rehab.

Those five days, Renee’s willingness to be loved and Jamie’s willingness to stop his life for five days to serve like Christ has changed the world for thousands of people.

Jamie wrote the story, To Write Love on Her Arms, of the five days with Renee, set-up a MySpace page and printed some t-shirts to help pay for Renee’s rehab.  Christian music artists Switchfoot and Anberlin embraced the movement immediately and the explosion began. Three years later that MySpace page has more than 325,000 friends, there is a worldwide To Write Love On Her Arms week (September 10-17) and on February 13, 2008 more than 380,000 members dedicated themselves to writing “love” on their arms and sharing the message around the world.  The TWOHA “Hope Line” has fielded more the 2.7M calls from people seeking help with depression and addiction.  So hot is the brand that TWOHA tshirts became the top selling brand at Hot Topic within two weeks of its launch.

Jamie Tworkowski and Renee Yohe (2009)

Jamie Tworkowski and Renee Yohe (2009)

So what is this movement we call To Write Love On Her Arms?  It is best captured by the TWLOHA mySpace page:

To Write Love on Her Arms is a work in progress. This began with one broken girl, one painful night; addiction, depression, cutting. This is a glimpse at the five days that followed, a decision to love and to begin telling her true story. To Write Love on Her Arms is becoming something bigger, something hopeful. It’s the realization of what life can be when we commit to meeting a need. A friend of mine told me there’s no such thing as suicide prevention. This is an attempt to prove him wrong, to say that love can change a life. We can hold back the darkness. Rescue is possible. More soon to come. Join us as we continue to write this story, and as we begin to offer hope to the many hopeless who walk these dark roads. A Jimmy Eat World lyric has been stuck in my head today, “Believe your voice can mean something.”

TWLOHA has risen to prominence through endorsements of celebrities such as the members of Paramore, Jon Foreman from Switchfoot, Sean from the Blackout, Derek Sanders from Mayday Parade, Deon Rexroat from Anberlin, Amy Lee from Evanescence, Bryce Avary from The Rocket Summer, Casey Calvert from Hawthorne Heights, and Brendon Urie and Ryan Ross from Panic at the Disco and has a growing loyal fan base. Other supportive bands and musicians include A Skylit Drive, Between the TreesThe Almost, Underoath, Bayside, As We Collide, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and many more.

to-write-love-band-collage

To Write Love On Her Arms has become a global phenomenon, but how is the girl who was the subject of all the attention in the first place?  Renee Yohe seems to be doing well.  Youtube has many vidoes of her, including one of her celebrating her third anniversary of sobriety.  Here she is in 2008 talking about her life and her book which tells the story from her side.

Jamie Tworkowski has become a global celebrity.  He continues to pursue his calling to spread love over depression and addiction.  Here are a couple of excerpts from an interview with Jamie::

“I think it all begins with the idea that our story matters – regardless of influence or attention or any of that. Our story matters because we’re part of a bigger story. Our story matters because we’ve been created to love and be loved. I think we’ll each express it differently – some will write books or blogs, some will write songs. Someone else will make a movie. I think the most important outlet, the one that applies to all of us, is community. We all need people we can do life with, people who will journey with us, people who can meet us in our questions.

As for a secret or advice for telling a story, I’ll go with this: Be honest. We all have our dreams and our fears and our questions. The tendency is to keep these things quiet because we don’t know what to do with them, or because we’re worried that other people will call us crazy. I say it matters. I say you might just find your greatest gifts in those scary places. I say it’s worth wrestling with because the world needs more people who have something to say, people who are interested in fixing things, people who are willing to dream… So be honest. It’s scary, but it’s good….

…As for what I want to say next, I don’t always go here because I don’t want to push people away. I think the language of it has been abused and misrepresented. But I’m in the middle of a difficult season, and the difficult seasons have a way of causing me to be honest. Maybe it’s that when things are hard, you don’t have the strength to fake it. Anyway, that’s the disclaimer. What I want to say is that, when it comes to the power of story, I suppose the best example in the history of the world would be Jesus. Jesus spent a lot of time telling stories. And perhaps God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to collide with our story, the story of humanity, the story that continues tonight – me in an apartment in Florida typing these answers, and you wherever you are, reading these words on a similar bright screen. Perhaps we’re all in this together and perhaps we’re all more loved than we’ll ever know.”

Before you dive into the story that started it all, please embrace these essential lessons:

  • You were created to be loved.
  • No matter what abuse you have endured, you deserve to be loved.
  • No matter what you have done to yourself or others, you deserved to be loved.
  • Christ loves you so much, no matter who you are or what you have done.
  • As Believers we have received that unconditional love.
  • We must share that love by loving the “unlovables”.

Here is the story,  “To Write Love On Her Arms” (be careful, the story contains profanity), that started it all.

You can buy “To Write Love on Her Arms” merchandise, get involved or donate at twloha.com

Easter- A Whole New Day For Everyone

easter-cross

Colossians 1
21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven…

Hebrews 2
14Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for[f]the sins of the people. 18Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Holy Saturday- The Sabbath of Mourning

holy-saturday1

Holy Saturday

Posted by: Spirit in Meditation

I no longer know what is real and what has been conjured in the recesses of my fear-racked imagination.  Yesterday, He was with me.  On that tree, in that place.  Yesterday, I knew Him and I could embrace what He was and I had rejoiced in the Knowing.

Today He is gone.

He hung on that tree and cried out in our shared agony and I was rapturous with the suffering.  Together we reached the pinnacle of our mutual damnation and it became clear to us both that we were seeking answers beyond our knowledge and our ability to grasp but which would be strangely easy to understand once we asked the right questions.

He looked at me from that tree and beckoned me to Him.  My legs moved easily now and it was all I could do to keep from running.  His gaze communicated a fullness and love that washed away the last shred of fear still lingering in my consciousness.

But the Wilderness is unforgiving.  It swallows all hope, banishes the smallest kernel of love, celebrates the bacchanal of the demons as they swirl around us while we try to escape. And so it was with Him. As his gaze of love and understanding pierced my heart, the light in his eyes began to fade. He called out for drink, called for His Father, then … I can’t bear to say it … He died.

In shock I leapt back and cried out in panic and loss. No! I’ve just found Him!

My legs were the first to go. They folded like a collapsing house of cards underneath me and refused to carry me even an inch past the foot of the tree. My arms wrapped once again around me and I folded into the protective covering lest the demons should enter in one more time.

O God! Where have you gone!

The panic was almost complete.  The loss, having just found Him, was unbearable.

O God, do not forsake us!

I turn to the tree once again. There hung the same senselessly distended, unutterably withered man I had met what seems a lifetime ago. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t speak. But looking at Him I was suddenly filled with a sure knowledge that it isn’t over yet. How I knew this I don’t know.

Until then, my grief is absolute and all-consuming.

Today, He is gone.