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New singles and albums out today, June 15th

Dirty Projectors, “That’s A Lifestyle,” from Lamp Lit Prose, due out in July on Domino.

Death Cab For Cutie, “Gold Rush,” from Thank You For Today, due out in August on Atlantic.

Gin Blossoms, Mixed Reality, out today on Cleopatra

Houndmouth, “Modern Love,” from This Golden Age due out August 3rd on Reprise

The Essex Green, “Don’t Leave It In Our Hands,” from Hardly Electronic due out June 29 on Merge

Young The Giant, “Simplify” on Elektra. No word on a new album.

Dawes, “Never Gonna Say Goodbye” from Passwords out June 22 on HUB

Arthur Buck, Arthur Buckon New West Records

Jesse Dayton, The Outsider on Blue Elan

June 8 Music Releases: Amos Lee, Dave Matthews, and more

Amos Lee, “No More Darkness, No More Light,” from his upcoming album My New Moon out August 31st on Dualtone.

The Get Up Kids, “My Own Reflection,” from their EP out today, Kicker, released on Polyvinyl.

Stars, “One Day Left,” released as a single on Last Gang Records.

The 1975, “Give Yourself A Try,” from their upcoming album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, due out in the fall on Dirty Hit Records.

Lykke Li, “hard rain,” from her new self-released album out today, so sad so sexy.

Dave Matthews Band, “Can’t Stop,” from their new album out today, Come Tomorrow, released on their own label, Bama Rags Recordings.



Youth ministry is demanding, delightful time spent accompanying teenagers in both the dramatic and the routine seasons of adolescence. It is heavy on interpersonal demands.

But sustainable congregational youth ministry has to be more than high-intensity interaction with teenagers and their parents. If you are a leader in such a ministry, building a team of volunteer and staff leaders is critical to its long-term vitality.

All of this to say that the church I serve is hiring a Youth Discipleship Coordinator, someone to work with me in executing the set pieces of our congregation’s ministry with 6th-12th grade students–Sunday morning youth groups, mission trips–while also dreaming up new expressions of ministry with students for the next season of our life together.

If you know somebody who I should talk to, email me.

The Bible on wine

From two readings in the daily lectionary. On the same day.

“Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly.

At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder.” (Proverbs 23)

No longer drink only water, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” (1 Timothy 5:23)

My Advance Planning Document Was Amazing. My Advance Planning Document Was Useless

I spent yesterday morning with my advance planning document. This is something I came up with about a year ago as a tool for organizing all the tasks related to all the projects in a youth ministry. For example, the retreat is scheduled for March, so I schedule the registration period, the travel accommodation, and a meeting to plan the event.

I had such hopes for this when I came up with it a year ago. Yet it did not make this past year run smooth as butter. Why not?

I don’t think anyone’s idea of a vibrant ministry is one where everything that’s going to happen is pegged to a calendar a year out. Vital communities can be spontaneous, whereas my advance planning document was quite rigid.

Second, the tingle of satisfaction you derive from typing a bunch of projects onto a calendar and then strategically slotting the months you’re going to execute tasks related to those projects: that’s not ministry. That’s a video game.

I’m trying it again for next year, but scaled back. I’m dropping the pretension that I have a template for success here to be replicated year after year. It’s a rough guide for one particular season.


Regan Burke on nail painting

This is the most exquisite description of fingernail painting I’ve ever read. As always, this post of Regan’s is insightful and descriptive. Read the whole thing here.

First, she’d soak a Kleenex in an upended bottle of Cutex nail polish remover and wipe all her nails clean. The vapors would tickle all the hairs in my nose and give me a headache but I never turned away. I’d watch her unscrew the top of Revlon’s Fire and Ice and pull out the dark bristles dripping in red liquid. With one hand flattened on the antique mahogany side table, and the other hand holding the grooved white plastic top, she’d drag the brush along the lip of the bottle to get just the right amount of polish. Pulling the brush from the bottom of the nail to the top in perfect form nail after nail, she’d quietly finish the job, then blow on the tips of her fingers to dry them.