Playlists and Leaders' Guides
Topic: Learning Resources
At some point in Hullabaloo, I was delirious enough make this claim: "No product that you can purchase at your local Christian bookstore and no program that your church will ever provide can possibly fill your life with the glory for which you were created. ... You don't need another conference, another curriculum, or another spiritual discipline." With words such as these ringing in my ears, it feels a bit hypocritical to create a leader's guide.
That's why this guide will be unlike any guide that you've ever read before.
This will not be a guide that will not help you to start a small group in your church where in which you will have happy little discussions about how to make your lives easier. Such discussions groups aren't necessarily bad; in my experience, however, their capacity for lasting transformation has been highly overrated while their capacity for breeding self-centeredness and discord has been underrated. At the same time, I do believe that it is in the context of fellowship that we learn to experience glory in the hullabaloo, and small groups can be a valuable form of faith-refining fellowship. The purpose of this reader's guide is not to help you or your small group to reflect on your deepest feelings; my desire is to equip your small group to do tasks together that will help you to find the glory in the hullabaloo.
CHAPTER 1: EMPTINESS: The Empty Field that Wasn't Empty After All (Everything Your Soul Needs is Available in your Present Life.)
* Click here to download the playlist. Listen to the playlist as you read the Introduction and the first chapter.
"Prelude" (Starfield): "Filled with your glory"--that's what the whole book's about.
"Power of a Moment" (Chris Rice): Each moment matters because each moment is filled with God's own presence ...
"Bouncing Off the Ceiling" (Ragamuffins): ... and yet there are times when I feel utterly abandoned by God, as if my prayers don't get past the ceiling. Of course, the good news is they don't have to get past the ceiling, because God isn't in the attic ... he is here, he is now, and his glory fills every molecule of space and every moment of time.
"Show Me Your Glory" (Third Day): This is, I think, the inmost yearning of every human heart--though we spend much of life squelching and denying it--to live in the terrifying joy of divine glory.
"Hands in the Air" (Waiting): This epic, underrated song by an epic, underrated band is an exquisite expression of the disappointment, the rage, the glory, and the joy of surrendering one's own will to God's will.
"Yahweh" (U2): "Always pain before the child is born" ... though my circumstances weren't what Bono had in mind when he wrote these words, these words rang so true for us so many times.
"The Only Thing I Need" (4Him): I'm not a 4Him fan ... and, yet, this song--with its ethereal arrangement--touches the deep and profound truth that I'm trying to get across in this chapter: As long as I have Jesus, I have all that I need for a life of glory.
"Glory, Glory" (Byrds): I accidentally ran across this song while looking for others, but I had to include it because it's such a rollicking, joyous expression of how it feels to release anger and rage and to allow glory to take their place.
* As an individual or in a small group, spend some time carefully studying the following Scriptures: • Job 1:1-3:26 • Jeremiah 50:2-7 • John 17:1-24
* Go to a park or to an empty field together. Look for signs of life that aren't immediately visible. As you kneel or crawl on the ground, praise God aloud for each sign of life that you see. Afterward, share a picnic dinner. Conclude the dinner by celebrating the Lord's Supper together.
CHAPTER 2: GLORY: When Your Messiah Drives a Minivan (You Were Created to Live in Glory)
* Download the playlist here.
"Beautiful Day" (U2): There is infinite glory available in every moment, every day, so every day is indeed a "beautiful day." So true yet so tough. I first heard this song after one of the failed adoptions that we endured, and this song--along with "Stuck in a Moment" from the same CD--became the soundtrack of my healing.
"Moment of Glory" (sonicflooD): Meditate on these lyrics ... profound and beautiful.
"Everyday Glory" (Rush): This tune--as well as another Rush song "Time Stand Still"--reminds me of how and why I miss the glory that surrounds me in every moment: I become too wrapped up in my goals and my desires to see the full beauty of each present moment.
"Filled With Your Glory" (Starfield): The title says it all.
"The River" (Rich Mullins): This song--both musically and lyrically--captures that deep, infinite yearning that cries from the depths of every human heart.
"Breathe" (Michael W. Smith): Okay, I'm not a Smitty fan, but this particular tune is a great reminder that every atom of creation is utterly saturated with God's presence.
* As an individual or in a small group, spend some time carefully studying the following Scriptures: • Acts 17:16-31 • 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Peter 5:10 • Romans 1:20-23; 3:23
* As a group, go to a mall or shopping center--but determine beforehand that you will not buy anything. Your sole goal is to glimpse divine glory in the people around you. Afterward, ask yourself, "If I had not already decided that I would not buy anything, how much would I have spent on things that I don't really need?" Then, meet with your small group at a restaurant. Before you pray, ask your server if there's any area of his or her life that needs prayer. After your meal, put together all the money that you would have spent on unneeded items, and leave the waitress a disproportionately large tip with a note that reads something like this: "God created you to live in his glory. We pray that you will experience that glory during this week."
CHAPTER 3: HULLABALOO: Learning the Art of Life (Everything You Need to Live a Life of Glory is Hidden in the Hullabaloo of the Life that You're Already Living)
* Click here to listen to the playlist.
"Such a Thing as Glory" (Rich Mullins): Even when we cannot see it through the hullabaloo, there is "such a thing as glory" in each of our lives.
"Quoting Deuteronomy to the Devil" (Rich Mullins): Oh, how I love this song, this reminder of divine glory in the oddest packages and places.
"When I Look at the World" (U2): It isn't until the final lines of this song that the listener realizes that it's a prayer. When God looks at the world, he sees glory. I don't--and, apart from God showing me, I can't.
"Glory" (Audio Adrenaline) and "My Glorious" (Delirious?): I just like these songs--that's it.
"Best of Both Worlds" (Van Halen): Sammy Hagar has the right longing; he just isn't fulfilling it in any way that will ultimately satiate his longing. But he does understand what a good many Christians don't: Heaven isn't supposed to be some future dream--it's supposed to be a present reality. The glory of heaven is here and now (see Ephesians 2:5-6).
* As an individual or in a small group, spend some time carefully studying the following Scriptures: • 2 Corinthians 4:13-18 • Matthew 13:1-46 • Luke 17:20-21
* If you participate in a small group, read Matthew 13:31-43 together. Then, make plans to do one or both of the following projects: (1) Plant some seeds in the place where your group meets--unless, of course, you meet at a table in a restaurant; the Health Department most likely won't appreciate you leaving potting soil on the table until the seeds sprout. Or, (2) make homemade yeast bread together, mixing and kneading it by hand. Recognize, as you work on these projects, that these ordinary acts can be sacramental events, acts of worship to God. Plan to take the fruits of your labor--whether fresh-baked bread as soon as you're finished or some small seedlings a few weeks after your gathering--to several elderly persons. Ask each elderly person, "What has been the most glorious thing that God has done in your life?" Then, simply listen, looking for glory in the stories that this person tells.
CHAPTER 4: MORE: What Another Bottle of Wine Has In Common With Your Church's Sunday School Curriculum (You Don't Need Anything More Than What You Already Have)
* Click here for the music.
"Satisfaction" (Rolling Stones): Sure, Mick Jagger's probably not talking about soul-satisfaction--but, as G.K. Chesterton once commented, whenever someone knocks on the brothel door, he stands there hoping that God will answer his knock. The point is, of course, that even our fleshly longings have a spiritual root.
"The Cowboy in Me" (Tim McGraw, Jeffrey Steele): I dislike most country music--especially of the sort that Tim McGraw sings. But this song just "gets it" from the perspective of our deep, inner longings ... and I can at least tolerate Jeffrey Steele's version of it.
"Something's Missing" (John Mayer): Power-filled lyrics, hear them carefully.
"Ain't Talkin'" (Bob Dylan): Just walkin', yearnin', and we all wear the same thorny crown ... go Dylan.
"God-Shaped Hole" (Plumb): This imagery is oft-repeated but some things are oft-repeated because they are perennially true.
"Fuel" (Ani DiFranco): Beneath the surface of our pain and sorrow and tragedy and failure, there is something infinitely glorious--a "fire just waiting for fuel," in Ani's beautiful imagery.
"God Shaped Hole" (Hayseed): I heard this song on some program on National Public Radio; after that, it took me forever to find it, but it was worth it.
* As an individual or in a small group, spend some time carefully studying the following Scriptures: • Deuteronomy 28:64-67 • Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 • Romans 8:18-23
* If you participate in a small group, issue this challenge to one another: To help you to see how many things you buy to satisfy your longing for "more," begin this week with a ten-dollar bill in your billfold or purse. Try to go for one week without purchasing a single item that you do not need. If you do purchase anything that you don't need, you must use your ten-dollar bill. At your next gathering, allow persons to share what they learned from this experience. If someone has spent some or all of his or her ten dollars, do not criticize the person; simply talk about what you learned. Then, go to a grocery store and use the money that remains from these ten-dollar bills to pay unexpectedly for other people's groceries. If someone asks you what you're doing or why, simply say something of this sort: "Jesus Christ is desperately in love with you, and his glory surrounds you in every moment of your life. I want to share his glory with you."
CHAPTER 5: THE REAL YOU: Where God's Glory Lives Today--and Where It Doesn't (The "Real You" Is Filled with God's Glory)
* Get your music here.
"Why Can't This Be Love?" (Van Halen): Sammy Hagar asks the right question again--though he arrives at the wrong answer: Why can't sex and love be the same thing? Like Darwin, Sammy would like to believe that what we call "love" can grow out of something that's purely physical. The problem is, of course, that this simply doesn't work in real life. Instead of leading us to bliss, it leaves us broken, with bloodied souls and wounded hearts.
"When It's Love" (Van Halen): Love lasts forever, Sammy claims, and "everybody's lookin' for something, something to fill in the hole." But love remains mysterious, and it seems that Sammy hasn't quite found anything "to fill in the hole." Perhaps that's because of what he assumes in "Why Can't This Be Love?"
"A Man and a Woman" (U2): Thanks, Bono, for getting it. There is something mysterious and undefinable in the encounter between a man and woman. Maybe that's what the biblical sage was getting at when he listed the way of a man with a maid among the great wonders of the world.
"Running to Stand Still," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (U2): Though Bono probably didn't intend them in this way, these songs ring true in my soul as an indictment of contemporary evangelicalism. We "believe in the kingdom come, you know [we] believe it" ... and yet we remain unsatisfied, looking for something more, something elusive. We fail to see that what we are looking for is something that we already possess.
"Everything Glorious" (David Crowder): Yes! David Crowder describes precisely what I am trying to say in this chapter! Thank you, David!
* As an individual or in a small group, spend some time carefully studying the following Scriptures: • Luke 9:23-36 • John 17:1, 20-26 • Colossians 3:1-4
* If you participate in a small group, write a letter to each group member, telling him or her how glorious you believe he or she looks from God's perspective. How does God see this person? What does "the real you" look like in this person's life? When you gather, give each person his or her letters. Read them silently. These letters aren't public communiqués; they are private epistles from one believer to another. Then, gather and pray together in complete silence before leaving. In the silence, envision each person as God sees him or her.
CHAPTER 6: IMAGINATION: Why Children Hold the Title Deed to God's Kingdom (Living the Life of Glory Requires Childlike Imagination)
* Download the playlist here. Listen to the playlist as you read this chapter.
"You Can't Always Get What You Want" (Rolling Stones): What we want from God is often a series of guaranteed steps to a life of glory--but that isn't what God gives us. He gives us what we need, which is glory hidden in the hullabaloo.
"Like a Child" (Jars of Clay): Let the song speak for itself.
"Pure Imagination" (from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory): It's all about childlike imagination, okay?
"Wings" (Josh Ritter): The Josh Ritter tune that I really wanted was "Since You've Gone" for the Chapter Five playlist--but iTunes doesn't carry that one. I put "Wings" in here because it's all about imagining angels' wings where we don't expect them.
"Growing Young" (Rich Mullins): A powerful song that, to this day, brings tears to my eyes. It says musically what the quotation from G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy says prosaically.
"Into the Heart" (U2): Into the heart of a child ... what else is there to say?
* As an individual or in a small group, spend some time carefully studying the following Scriptures: • Matthew 18:1-10 • Matthew 19:13-15 • 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
* If you participate in a small group, volunteer together to give a break to the teacher or teachers of a preschool or children's class in a church. Carefully plan the lesson, but--in the process of leading the class--pay attention to how the children see glory where the rest of the world sees garbage. As a class, write notes to the parents of each child, telling the parents what you learned from their children.
CHAPTER 7: CONTROL: Why You Still Stink at Following Jesus (Learning to Release Our Longing to Be in Control)
* Click here for your music. Listen to the playlist as you read this chapter.
"Not Ready to Make Nice" (Dixie Chicks): This song expresses eloquently how we, apart from divine grace, want to respond to persons who have wronged us. To me, it expresses the truth that it is, as the next song in the playlist puts it, so "hard to be like Jesus"--hard to forgive as he forgave. I'm not a country music fan, but this Dixie Chicks album really grew on me.
"Hard" (Rich Mullins): This song says what evangelicals' bait-and-switch evangelistic presentations never admit: It's really hard to be like Jesus, and life in Jesus is really inconvenient sometimes.
"Am I Ever Gonna Change?" (Extreme): This song is one of my "life songs"--one that I return to again and again. Such a beautiful, haunting musical version of Romans 7--of, in the words of Martin Luther, "the Christian between God and death." Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt at their best.
"Life Means to Much" (Chris Rice): ... which is why we must be thankful for each day, counting the value of every moment.
"My Favorite Things" (John Coltrane): The true "favorite things" of life are typically the simplest of things--a kiss, a shared meal, a shared laugh, a glance of love, a moment of silence, things over which we have no real control. Why, then, do we obsess over things that have no lasting joy? Why do we want so desperately to control our worlds? Why don't we live lives of thankfulness?
"I've Got Plenty to Be Thankful For" (Bing Crosby): I was looking for "Thankful" by Caedmon's Call, and I ran across this tune. Sorry, Caedmon's Call, but you lost out to Bing.
* As an individual or in a small group, spend some time carefully studying the following Scriptures: • Matthew 5:21-26 • James 1:17-21 • Romans 1:18-23 • 1 Thessalonians 5:18
* If you participate in a small group, encourage each person to keep a journal throughout the week, noting each time that they became aware of cravings for control in their lives. Before your next gathering, spend twenty-four hours fasting--fasting is, after all, a release of our longing to be in control of our food. Then, spend your entire time together in prayers of gratitude for each present moment of life.
CHAPTER 8: TOGETHER: The Trouble with Human Beings (To Live a Life of Glory, It Is Necessary to Practice Authentic Community with Other Believers)
* Download your music here.
"Jingle Bells" (Duke Ellington): This is from Hannah's dance performance, simply to help you sense the context of the opening vignette.
"We Are Not as Strong as We Think We Are" (Rich Mullins): Yes, so frail yet so fearfully and wonderfully made.
"Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" (U2): I need the communion of the saints and so does every other believer--we can't make it on our own.
"Grace" (Nicole Nordeman, U2): A gorgeous description of what should happen in church: "She travels outside of karma. ... What once was hurt, what once was friction, what left a mark, no longer stings because grace makes beauty out of ugly things."
"Peace" (Rich Mullins): The consummate song of holy communion ... listen and let the song speak for itself.
"God Gave Rock'n'Roll to You" (KISS): Martin Luther likes playing air guitar to this song; so, here it is for your mutual enjoyment.
* As an individual or in a small group, spend some time carefully studying the following Scriptures: • Genesis 1:26-31 • Mark 3:13-15 • Hebrews 11:39--12:1
* After meditating on Hebrews 12:1, play air guitar with one of the saints of the past. I have included "God Gave Rock and Roll to You" by KISS in the playlist to help you in this endeavor. I must warn you, though, Martin Luther is very good at air guitar--he and I play air guitar quite often, and he can play circles around me. So, if you choose Martin Luther, prepare to be humiliated.
* Okay, the point that I'm seriously trying to make is that I want you to engage in some activity that consciously recognizes that the saints of the past are still present with us and among us today. Choose something that you can do as an individual as well as something that you can do as a group. Perhaps you can read aloud the writings of a past saint and consider the fact that this saint still lives. Perhaps you can gather for Lord's Supper and meditate on the fact that the saints of the past gather with you. Or, you can play air guitar.
CHAPTER 9: INTERRUPTIONS: Why Bad Karma Isn't Necessarily a Bad Thing (Hullabaloo Doesn't Work in Easily-Predicted Patterns)
* Get your music here. Listen to the playlist as you read this chapter.
"Runnin' With the Devil" (Van Halen): The purpose of this one is to take you back to the early Eighties when the incident described at the beginning of this chapter happened. I, of course, abhor this song, and I have never danced in front of the mirror , playing air guitar to this song ... except for several thousand times when I was a teenager. Oh ... and last week.
"Third Rock from the Sun" (Country Dance Kings): I had never heard of this song, but when I described what I was trying to say in this chapter, Rayann said, "That sounds like this song." And she was right.
"Mercedes Benz" (Janis Joplin): A poignant parody of many of our prayers.
"Castles Made of Sand" (Jimi Hendrix): Beautiful, haunting expression of how karma doesn't work in real life.
"Some Days are Better Than Others" (U2): ... even when you follow Jesus, it's still true.
"Stuck in a Moment" (U2): This song, as well as "Beautiful Day," became the soundtrack of my healing from the pains of infertility, failed adoptions, and all the other events of what I look back on as "two years of hell."
"Nothing You Don't Know" (Ragamuffins): Great song that speaks for itself.
* As an individual or in a small group, spend some time carefully studying the following Scriptures: • John 9:1-41 • Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 • Proverbs 14:11; 16:3; 22:3. After reading these proverbs, realize that some people may believe that life in God operates according to cause-and-effect sequences because of proverbs such as these. Some proverbs seem to imply that what you put into life dictates exactly what you get out of it. What's easy to miss, however, is the fact that proverbs are not promises. The proverbial passages in Scripture are observations about how the hullabaloo usually works; they are inspired wisdom, tested by time. But they are not promises, and they do not guarantee that what you put into life determines what you get out of it.
* If you participate in a small group, look together at Tremper Longman III, How to Read Proverbs (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), especially pages 79-88. Honestly confess to one another some times when you have become frustrated with God because your life did not proceed in the cause-and-effect sequences that you expected. Then, do something that turns cause-and-effect sequences up side down: Go together to demonstrate love and kindness to someone who absolutely does not deserve a glorious life.
CHAPTER 10: UNFAIRNESS: Living as if the Glory Goes On (God's Glory Does Not Depend on How Our Life's Events Turn Out)
* Click here for tunes. Listen to the playlist as you read this chapter.
"Princess Bride": Both the book and the movie hint at the truth that life is not fear nor is it supposed to be--though the book makes it clearer and funnier than the movie.
"Jacob and 2 Women" (Rich Mullins): When I first heard this song while a college student, it was a burst of fresh air---no, more like a tornado---destroying my assumptions that the Christian life is clear-cut and simple. This song introduced me to the truth that the Bible is a messy, weird book and that this could mean, when life in Jesus gets messy, it's okay.
"Bound to Come Some Trouble" (Rich Mullins): Rich Mullins burst into the Christian music scene in the 1980s and 1990s with such alarming, beautiful honesty. God, I still miss him.
"When the Deal Goes Down" and "Beyond the Horizon" (Bob Dylan): The yearning for glory, the recognition of life's unfairness ... leave it to Dylan to say it poetically, telling the truth about life without actually saying much of anything at all.
"Your Glory Goes On" (MercyMe): Everyone else likes MercyMe, so it's difficult for me to admit I like them too--but I do.
"Never Dim" (Waiting): Absorb these powerful lyrics.
* As an individual or in a small group, spend some time carefully studying the following Scriptures: • Ecclesiastes 2:20-23; 6:1-2 • Job 1-5; 8:1-22; 13:1-28; 19:1-29; 29:1-25; 38-42
* If you participate in a small group, visit a nursing home together-preferably a low-income care center. Pray with as many residents as possible. Between your times of prayer, ask God to help you to see that many of these people deserve something far better than what is happening to them. For most of them, life is unfair. (Approximately 60% of persons in extended care centers never have a single visitor.) You cannot make life "fair," but you can be a source of God's glory to people that others have forgotten.
CHAPTER 11: DARKNESS: When the Hullabaloo Doesn't Turn Glorious (Even Our Darkness is Full of Glory)
* Download music here. If your conscience is bothered by the language in "Wake Up Dead Man" by U2, try this playlist instead.
"Hard to Get" (Rich Mullins): Again, Rich's honesty is alarming and beautiful. I had a friend who believed that Rich Mullins' death was God's retribution for Rich having written this song. This friend simply could not fathom that a believer in Jesus Christ could possibly feel this way. I can. I have. And someday I suspect that my friend will too.
"If God Will Send His Angels" (U2): Bono wrestles with the age-old question of theodicy.
"Wake Up Dead Man" (U2): Another wrestling from the same CD--this one has some very raw language in it, so seek divine discretion as to whether this is something that will edify your soul.
"One of Us" (Joan Osborne): Beautiful tune, asking the question, "What if God had to endure what we endure?" What Joan Osborne doesn't seem to recognize is that he already has.
"Jesus," "Man of No Reputation" (Rich Mullins): Jesus wasn't not physically attractive or politically active or financially secure ... why, then, does contemporary evangelicalism live so obsessed with these three idols of current culture? Why?!
* As an individual or in a small group, spend some time carefully studying the following Scriptures: • 2 Timothy 1--4, keeping in mind Paul's circumstances as he wrote this letter • Romans 8:15-17 • Isaiah 53:1-12
* If you participate in a small group, think of someone who has recently experienced a personal tragedy. Make plans to become an expression of divine glory to this person or family. Keep their lawn mowed for a month or two, invite them somewhere for dinner at least once each week, leave a gift card for gasoline on their door--whatever God leads you to do. But do not, under any circumstances, try to explain why this tragedy has happened. Simply be the glory of God in this person's life.
CHAPTER 12: TRUST: When I Cannot See His Face (Learning to Sense Glory Even When There Is No Evidence That I Can Easily See)
* Get music.
"Help Thou My Unbelief" (Ragamuffins): I have a hard time believing that God really does come through sometimes ... God, help me to trust more deeply, more truly, in you.
"Glory Defined" (Building 429): This is my dream, my prayer--to wake up one day to see divine glory all around me not because everything is going my way but because I sense the truth, that there is glory all around me, all the time.
"Kite" (U2):"You don't need me anymore"--if this book succeeded, you won't need it anymore. So get rid of it.
"Better Change Your Ways" (The Hullabaloos): An ironic twist to close out the book--this is from a long-forgotten band called the Hullabaloos, but the song's message is change your ways--which is basically the message of the book too.
* As an individual or in a small group, spend some time carefully studying the following Scriptures: • 1 Peter 1:3-9 • Hebrews 11:1-2
* If you participate in a small group, read together the section entitled "AFTERWORD: Please Get Rid of This Book." Plan as a group how, in your final session of this study, you will get rid of your copies of this book in a constructive yet enjoyable ways.
Posted by timothypauljones
at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, 15 June 2007 10:03 AM CDT