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J. Daniel Ashton

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Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, —Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV
The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands:
"See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God." —Micah 6:8, CEV
With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment.
Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. —Proverbs 3:5,6 CEV

see also — My Homepage

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Name: Daniel Ashton
Location: Germantown, Maryland, United States

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Monday, October 24, 2005


As I was waking up this morning I thought for a moment about a struggle I'm facing, which in turn is caused, at least in part, by the fact that most Christians no longer see themselves as people who sing hymns. I thought for a moment of what it means to become a Christian, giving up much of the ways of the world, the lifestyle, but not the rhythms and harmonies of your music.

When I learn a new language, it's by immersing myself in that language for as much as two hours every day. (I'd do more if I had the time.) When someone converts to Christianity, what kinds of aural resources do they have? "Christian" radio stations offer a variety of right-wing, politically active talk shows, and a plethora of music that can best be described as wimpy (or not-so wimpy) knock-offs of the music of the world. New-born Christians have no musical culture or standard to assimilate that is unique or distinct from the types of music available before their new birth. Except hymns.

There should be some extent to which Christians are, musically speaking, the people who sing hymns. But how can a new-born Christian learn this language and become conversant with this part of his new life? Our radio stations don't offer much anymore, nor do the recordings available in today's Christian music stores. We're lucky to squeeze in three or four hymns at any worship service, and those, of course must be different from any other hymns that we've sung in the last three months or so.

So can we be surprised that today's Christians, both new-born and generations bred, seem to have no taste for this unique musical style?

Would it be in any way valuable to a new Christian to have hymn recordings available as a resource? I began to contemplate the task of making recordings of many, or perhaps all, of the hymns in a given hymnal. Suppose you could gather two hundred singers in an accoustically friendly sanctuary with a good organ, together with an experienced recording engineer. How long would it take to record about half a CDs-worth of hymns?

And a host of questions follow: How many CDs could we fill from one hymnal? What kind of legal issues would need to be resolved? Would it help if we used the previous edition of the hymnal. Would there be any value in recordings featuring one hymn after another, in simple settings, some verses in harmony, some in unison? If you recorded the hymns from one denomination's hymnal, would those recordings be useful and acceptable to members of another demonimation?

As usual, these moments of, er, deep thought leave us with more questions than answers. Are you interested in answering any of these questions? Write back to me: leave a comment here or, if it's a private thought, use my e-mail address.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover"

Something reminded me today of this little ditty I learned as a child. I don't remember if it's something I learned in choir at school, or elsewhere. I'm just tickled that someone bothered to make a web page of it.

I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Riding Log

I missed my chance to ride last Friday, so Sabbath morning Vicki and I took a walk in the rain before going to church. Today I made a quick ride to IBM and back just a few minutes before sundown. It's getting cooler out: I was a little uncomfortable for the first minute or two, but warmed up fairly quickly.

  • Dist/Day 4.41 miles
  • Ride time 22 minutes 58 seconds
  • Avg Speed 11.77 mph
  • Max Speed 32.1 mph

Another Favorite Photo

I like these photos because they show me doing things that I love to do.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Exercise Update

After a week of other exercise, (laying hardwood flooring), I'm back to riding.

  • Dist/Day 4.40 miles
  • Ride time 24 minutes 26 seconds
  • Avg Speed 10.92 mph
  • Max Speed 30.2 mph
  • Dist/Day 4.41 miles
  • Ride time 23 minutes 16 seconds
  • Avg Speed 11.63 mph
  • Max Speed 32.8 mph

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"On free software and trust"

In a sense, it's a shame that such a thing as free software needs to exist, but that seems to me to be the reality of our world.
-- the conclusion of this fine and relatively brief comment on Groklaw.