Sound Theology by Colleen Butcher

Songs of the Sea

There is a way that one’s place of origin gets embedded in the soul. Not only are composers often known for incorporating their cultural musical language – think Sibelius for Finland, Tchaikovsky for Russia, or Bartok for Hungary – but they are also recognized for reflecting the physical landscape of their homeland in music. It should be no surprise, then, that English composers have written significant pieces about the sea. This week’s playlist includes only English composers and their works that take us to the seaside, along with the overtures to two fun musicals with “sea” themes. (See if you can guess before clicking on the link!)   STT#118 – Songs of the Sea




Wade in the Water

I spent an afternoon this past week with Leonard Sweet and the students in the current cohort of Portland Seminary’s DMin program. The assignment they were given for the last hour of class was to tell the big Story (from 1:1 to the maps) using one of the key first images in the scriptures: dirt, water, or wind/breath. These images are rich in depth and meaning, connecting the story elements in amazing ways. Since I had already begun Ordinary Time last week with a playlist of “ocean” music, I thought I might try to create a series of playlists on these three images, continuing this week with water. read more…

The Oceans

Psalm 65:4-8

Happy are those whom you choose and bring near    

to live in your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,    

your holy temple. By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,    

O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth   read more…

Trinity Sunday

With the celebration of Trinity Sunday, we move into Ordinary Time: 25 weeks of readings and reflection on the life of the church and the practice of discipleship. Trinity Sunday helps us to root the life of the church in the ever-giving love of the community of the three-in-one. Bach is the master of the musical three-in-one, his fugues and sinfonias providing a wealth of material that we can immerse ourselves within. This three-part music has a simplicity that belies its complexity: as with all of Bach’s music (and with the Trinity), there is always more at play than can be easily discerned. Enjoy these keyboard pieces this week, as you contemplate the wonders and mystery of the Trinity. read more…