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ODJ: hit the cymbals!

In an instructional video, Neil Percy, lead percussionist for the London Symphony Orchestra, demonstrates the proper technique for holding cymbals to generate the the loudest noise possible. He begins by holding the cymbals vertically just below his waist. He clashes them together while moving them skyward. Then he ends with both hands extended over his head, the cymbals reverberating joyfully in

ODJ: when gods die

France Nouvelle, the newspaper of the French Communist Party, stated this after Stalin died: “The heart of Stalin . . . has ceased beating. But Stalinism lives on and is immortal. . . . To Stalin we shall remain faithful for evermore. Communists everywhere will endeavour to deserve, by their untiring devotion to the sacred cause of the working class . . . the honourary title of Stalin

ODJ: foxy lady

Not long ago, my wife, Miska, met a friend for coffee. As they sat at an outdoor café, a man in a white hat walked back and forth near them—several times. He would go into the barbershop next door, only to exit a few minutes later and cruise near the ladies, giving them a smile or word. He was working it. On his final sweep, he paused to slide Miska a note on a yellow Post-i

ODJ: amen

Amen! We typically say it at the end of our prayers, but Amen has more significance than simply being the last word in a prayer. Of the 30 times it’s used in the Old Testament, Amen is nearly always a response of approval to something that has been stated.
God seemed to respond to Solomon’s dedicatory prayer for the temple with, Amen, let it be so! U

ODJ: multi-hat syndrome

A pastor recently listed 36 different ‘hats’ he might wear. The roles included community activist, theologian, financial advisor and life coach. These roles evolved from the different needs of churchgoers. While it’s important for all of us to respond to others’ needs, if the demands consume us, we may begin to serve people instead of serving God.
To prevent this, we need to orient

ODJ: subversive hymn

We like to sing hymns in our church—the older the better. We often put new music to them, but sometimes we sing the songs as written. The power of the words, the beautiful melodies, the fact that Christians sang these truths long before us, make hymns an important part of our worship.

Colossians 1:15-23 is a poem and was probably an early hymn that Paul used in his letter. These lyri

ODJ: village of eternity

Journalist Tracey Lawson visited Campodimele, Italy, and dubbed it the “Village of Eternity.” The 1,000 year old town rests like a crown atop a mountain, and the average resident lives 95 years. The locals eat well—mostly simple, fresh food. According to Lawson, the village is a “little cluster of medieval houses [with] olive trees on the slopes in the background.” The main piazza boasts

ODB: Obedience Is Worship

While I was traveling with a chorale from a Christian high school, it was great to see the students praise God as they led in worship in the churches we visited. What happened away from church was even better to see. One day the group discovered that a woman had no money for gas—and they spontaneously felt led by God to take up a collection. They were able to give her enough money for several ta

ODJ: bwana asifiwe!

Bwana asifiwe!” is Swahili for Praise the Lord! As I travelled from the dry place of Tala to the slums of Kawangare to the densely populated and dangerous ghetto of Korogocho in Kenya, this is the way every believer greeted me.

Living under the constant pitch of despondency, Bwana asifiwe? Surrounded by the dark shadows of squalor, poverty and destitution, Bwana asifiwe?Living in the