CD – NOW AVAILABLE! I’ve collected fifteen of my welcome/justice-themed hymn texts and put them on a CD. Iowa City-based singer-song writer Sara Kay has recorded the vocals–and they’re gorgeous! Released in July 2013, here’s my blog post announcing the project (note that my Kickstarter campaign is over — and it was a resounding success). An 8-page pdf with the lyrics for all the hymns on the album set on as a series of 8.5×11 half-sheets is here. A smaller 2-page pdf with all the lyrics down-sized to fit front/back on a single sheet of 8.5×14 paper is here.
You can hear one sample track from the album here: “Hearts on Fire.” (You can hear a short preview of each track on CD Baby at the link below.)
Buy the CD or the book here.
Digital download via CD Baby here.
A little advance praise for To the Tune of a Welcoming God – Hymns for a Church Hungry for Welcome –
“David Weiss has created a resource that yokes familiar hymns to his own original texts. Interpreted through Sara Kay’s clear and beautiful singing, these hymns offer a passionate voice of justice and inclusivity to Christian communities. The very recognizable tunes will make these pieces easy to introduce to congregations. In this collection we experience texts that broaden the circle of our vision and challenge us to a more complete vision of God’s reign. We will never cease to need such texts.” ~ Marty Haugen, Liturgical Composer & Musician
“This collection of new hymn lyrics is just the kind of grassroots creativity that other progressive Christians would do well to imitate. New images for a new era. The CD will be a helpful guide for congregations wanting to meet and sing these songs.” ~ Christopher Grundy, Singer/Songwriter, Assistant Professor of Preaching & Worship, Eden Theological Seminary
“David Weiss and Sara Kay’s intention is clear: to seed the church with grace. David’s ministry of celebrating people of all orientations comes through loud and clear in his texts. Consider this recording a demo for your congregation’s leaders as they lead open-hearted worship.” ~ Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, Musician & Liturgical Theologian, Author & Composer for The Psalm Project.
“It’s always fun to see what happens when a talented wordsmith breathes new life into old tunes with fresh language, images, and ideas. David Weiss is a gifted poet and a wonderfully inclusive theologian. ‘To the Tune of a Welcoming God’ will be a helpful resource for pastors and congregations who are looking for expansive language and theology to fit the melodies that have been part of the Church’s life for generations. Sara Kay does a nice job with her vocals of helping us to hear David’s words and to listen for the Word beyond the words. My favorite is track #6, ‘Now the Welcome’—very skillful use of inner rhyme and fine lyric-craft.” ~ Bryan Sirchio, Singer/Songwriter & Author of The 6 Marks of Progressive Christian Worship Music
“These beautiful hymns are a gift to progressive congregations who long for music that expresses their deepest values: the love of a welcoming and gracious God, the dream of a better world to be born, and the hunger for justice that draws us near to God and neighbor. By combining familiar, diverse, and treasured tunes of the church with lyrics that maintain theological integrity at every turn, David Weiss has given progressives a much-needed resource that will benefit the church for years to come.” ~ Phil Snider, pastor, activist, author of Toward a Hopeful Future: Why the Emergent Church is Good News for Mainline Congregations
“These fifteen hymn texts make clear the universal scope of David Weiss’ interests, his biblical knowledge as a theologian, his poetic imagination as a writer, and his passion for justice as a prophetic activist. Singing these hymns myself, following along with the CD recording, and listening to the haunting clarity of Sara Kay’s solo voice, I came to appreciate fully what David Weiss has created. Not thinking the faith, or speaking the faith, or writing books about faith, all of which have been my lot, but singing the faith—that is the surest way to be caught up in what it means to follow in the Way set before us by the life of Jesus.” ~ Lee Snook, Professor Emeritus, Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary
ABOUT THE BOOK
Selected for use in the University of Wisconsin System Institute on Race & Ethnicity, Campus Reading Seminar, 2010-2011.
A timely collection of essays and hymns eloquently calling for a Christian faith that extends an affirming welcome to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons.
Buy the Book or CD here.
I’ve created a Reader’s Companion with book groups in mind; You can download it here. (It’s a PDF file that is six pages long and all set up so that you can copy it double-sided on three pieces of paper and then either fold it in half as a little booklet or slice it down then middle and have six half-sheet handouts.)
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From the publisher:
To the Tune of a Welcoming God, by poet, theologian, essayist, and activist David Weiss, explores the divisive questions of whether and how the church might welcome the GLBT Christians at its doorstep—and already in its pews. Writing with academic training, prophetic passion, and poetic insight, Weiss invites readers to revisit these questions through poems, essays, and hymns that are at once engaging and provocative. While rooted deeply in his own Lutheran context, Weiss’s words reach far beyond, challenging, encouraging, and empowering persons regardless of their particular tradition.
Teachers, students, pastors, and laypersons—whether gay or straight—will find these short texts worthy of long reflection and conversation. GLBT Christians will be empowered to speak with renewed dignity and conviction about their place in the church. Pastors will be empowered to bring this issue more productively into parish conversation. And straight persons, both allies and inquirers, will be empowered to consider the place of GLBT Christians in the church more thoughtfully and to act on their convictions with greater confidence.
Pastor Anita Hill, in her foreword, calls this book a “graceful force,” its words “shockingly beautiful.” For those whose own heart and mind have already been captivated by the tune of a welcoming God, these readings will help put clear words and images to the music already at play in their lives. At times whimsical, sobering, challenging, surprising, insightful, and subversive, To the Tune of a Welcoming God invites the church to sing a new song.
To the Tune of a Welcoming Godis published in partnership with Wingspan Ministry of St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church, Saint Paul, Minnesota. The author is donating 25% of the profits from the sale of this book to Wingspan Ministry.
For more than twenty years Wingspan Ministry, a congregational ministry of St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church, has provided pastoral care, educational resources, and prophetic advocacy for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. It provided key leadership in St. Paul-Reformation’s journey to ordain Pastor Anita Hill in 2001. Today, through resources like this book, Wingspan continues its work toward the full inclusion and affirmation of GLBT persons in faith communities, most especially in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. As a congregational ministry driven by church members Wingspan helps St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church model a new way of being church that seeks to include all persons.
I call the writings “lyrical” because, quite beyond the lyrics in the hymns, I write with a poet’s sensitivity to the way juxtaposed images can bring insight and the way language, well-used, can lure us toward truth and understanding. My writing tries to put words to the “music of welcome” that I hear in my heart.
The Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, who directs the Institute for Welcoming Resources of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, says of my book: “Theological clarity meets poetic grace. In our work for a more just and extravagantly welcoming Church, there is no stronger ally and friend than David Weiss and no more artistic work than his.” I’m grateful for her words of praise (you can find more praise for the book here) but I write less for praise than for justice. Though, as a poet, I do believe the justice is beautiful. And I hope that the eloquence of my writings opens hearts and minds to the goodness and the justice for which we were made.
You can also download an excerpt to sample my writing.
Note: there is now a limited number of these books left. As of June 2013 it went officially “out of print” with the publisher. You can’t get it on Amazon or through a bookstore any longer. But I have the remaining inventory and will sell them for as long as supplies last.
Buy the CD or book here.