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  • New transMission CD - Marty's Journal; Entry #1

    So, we're going to be working on another project.  Another CD.  Over the next few months, you'll be able to hear some of my thoughts on how the journey is treating us.  

    Here's my first entry:

    Sunday, 9/2/12, 9:52 PM

    It was Wednesday night, or maybe it was Thursday night… I can't remember exactly when, but I remember it was in the middle of the night.  Kind of like one of those "ideas that woke me up from a deep sleep."  Only, you have to know that I'm a deeper-than-average deep sleeper.  I suppose it could have been any sort of digestive distress as well.  But that doesn't sound as idealistic and, well, awesome.  Anyway, the truth is, I was up because, for the 3rd time that night, my 2 year old daughter - who is experiencing the joys and liberties of sleeping in a big-girl bed - had snuck into our room again, faintly whimpering and longing for someone to notice her.  This particular time it was my turn to  attend to the child, and safely guide her back into her bedroom.  With a little snuggle and a pat on the back, she was back asleep.  And then it hit me…

    The rocking chair ottoman in her room…

    And also the idea that I had been praying to receive, anxiously awaiting it's arrival from on high… (this is beginning to sound like Christmas.  There were no angels.  I digress.)

    You see, every time I approach a new transMission CD I suffer a incredibly short-term mini-anxiety attack that sabotages my psyche.  Every time.  I remember after The World For God was released, thinking, How on earth are we going to come up with the next project?  There's nowhere to go from here.  Well, let's rewind to the late summer of 2010, to find a supposed song list that had been collecting various thoughts and ideas for songbook rewrites and other original material.  It was making itself abundantly clear, and filling up rather quickly.  (An aside: I always keep a current folder with ideas that haven't been developed.  If I hear a song on a typical Sunday morning and the words really grab my attention, I save the song, along with it's list of appropriate tune numbers, and mark it in one fashion or another.) The first song on that list was "Christ for the World," a song I had been asked to rewrite for a certain occasion. The next on the list was a song from the songbook whose words had subsequently infiltrated my heart: "Awake, awake!  Fling off the night," and so on.  Over the course of a year, I was able to come back to this collection and figure out how to make something out of these candidates for yet another contemporary, non-traditional worship resource for The Salvation Army.  Thus, Majestic was born.  

    Nifty.  A clever story, you might say.  "Oh, that's how these CDs are born."

    Not this time.  Not even close.

    It's September.  Officially, the end of the summer.  I have no new songs, save one that we developed and shared at TYI (Salvation Army regional youth retreat at the end of the summer every year).  I'm torn.  What do we do?  What do I do?  What's next?  (Enter unnecessary caveat: We were planning all along through the early months of 2012 to attempt a live recording.  We felt it was time to capture the passion and energy that the better known transMission songs have come to invoke in the recent past.  For several reasons which I'll not bore you with or go into, the proposal for this project was moved to a back burner. Maybe one day…)

    Okay, that's enough of the less-than-riveting back story.  Clearly you can see my plight.

    I'll cut to the chase.  The idea that struck me in my toddler's room at 3:12 AM that fateful night was this:  "Doctrines."

    I hope this isn't a let down for you.  Having had no other ideas engrossing my mind and motivating my creative prowess, I begin to realize something.  Our Doctrines (of The Salvation Army) aren't just some fancy guidelines under which we come up with great debate and discussion.  Uh-uh.  No, these doctrines aren't just an exhaustive list of ideal traits that we expect from our members.  These words, these 11 statements, make up who we are.  These ideas are interwoven into our fabric.  When we say "We Believe…" we aren't just rattling off a nice phrase, a feely-good notion that perhaps might seem outdated or otherwise irrelevant to some.  If you believe in something, you defend it.  You soak it in.  You take on as much of it as you can.  You operate under its measures, sure, but you also gauge every decision, every thought, every motive, with the weight of what it is you say makes you who you are.

    Our Army.  In more countries than McDonald's… Think about that for a second.  And we all (in countless amounts of differing language) profess that we BELIEVE this list, these attributes, these traits that make us who we are.

    So, in a matter of speaking, I realize that if these 11 doctrines, these 11 statements that we agree make us who we are, are so moving and profoundly powerful, then perhaps we ought to be singing about these things too.  These ideals are song-worthy.  (Clearly, I do recognize that this is not a new idea.  Officers, soldiers, Generals have been doing it since our great Army was born.  But I feel as though I am being asked to approach these with new and fresh attention and vigor.) When we talk about salvation (#6), we should be shouting at the top of our lungs "Shout Hosanna!"  When we talk about continued obedience in Christ (#9), we should be praying together, "Lead me, Lord, I will follow, to the lost or to the cross, my life is Yours."  And so on.

    We're allowing what we believe our Army make-up is to guide our thoughts to this end.  11 songs to convey 11 statements of faith.  11 complete ideas to represent each cord in a proverbial 11-cord rope that we use to rescue the last, the lost and the least.

    Now, I realize that this is a huge undertaking.  It's daunting, to say the least.  At this point, we have 2 songs.  That's it.  We'll need 9 more.  But I trust the Lord will provide the vision and clarity to create and to write within these parameters.

    The amazing journey begins…

    So, are we crazy?  Have we bitten off way more than we can chew?  I don't think so.  We're hungry!

    Here's the big picture:  11 songs that tackle, in one way or another, each of the ideas in our 11 doctrines.  To be clear, we are not arranging music to go along with text verbatim.  (I can hear it now… "Hey, this doesn't say 'We believe that the scriptures of the old and new testaments…'")  So I apologize if someone was really hoping for that.  On a grander scale, each song will take the concept of a doctrine, presenting the concept and idea of their respective statement in some sort of musical fashion.

    Here we are at the beginning of this massive step.  We would appreciate the prayer support of any of those willing to remember us to the Father.

    Stay tuned for updates!

    Marty (et. al)