Thursday, May 31, 2007


I'm bursting with pride and gratitude. Joshua Matthew is twelve years old today. My son is an awesome young man... strong, talented, kind, smart... I'm so glad God made him and gave him to his mom and me.

God, thanks for Josh... Continue to grow him up into the man You want him to be. Give him everything he needs and help him to seek you with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength. Meet him as he seeks YOU, and may he follow Jesus all the days of his life, all the way to heaven...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Thanks, Steve

I'm taking the night off from Sunday At 6, and it's cool to know that the band is in capable hands. Steve Young is getting to be a pretty in-demand worship leader, too, so I have to use him while I've got him...

Rock and Roll!

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I was driving the kids around the other day in the minivan, and I thought I'd open their mind to some semi-classical music. I found the classic 1959 recording of Leonard Bernstein playing Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra on my iPod.

They were very impressed and interested, and Josh asked if he could se it on Youtube. I didn't think they would have it, but I was wrong. It's not the same performance, but it's darn close, and it still shows the magnificence of the piece and the brilliance of conductor/pianist Leonard Bernstein. This piece woke me up to classical/orchestral music back in high school. It was only years later that I discovered Bernstein's contributions to musical theater. I was (and am) a big fan of Stephen Sondheim's work, and Bernstein gave Sondheim his first Broadway gig... writing the lyrics to Bernstein's music for West Side Story. Amazing stuff.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Last Time I Saw Jesus

I found this painting somewhere online... If anyone knows where, please let me know. I am using it for my desktop right now, and I just have no idea where it came from. I have been so affected by this image... For some reason it strikes me as just right. Jesus at the carnival. It's strange and somehow comforting. Jesus is God Incarnate... right here in the mess of our human existence. Jesus at the freakshow... I love it.

For some reason I'm reminded of a song by my favorite band, Over the Rhine. It's called Jesus in New Orleans, and you can hear it here (the studio version from the magnificent double album Ohio) or purchase a "fans only" live version here.

Jesus in New Orleans
Words: Karin Bergquist/Linford Detweiler
Music: Karin Bergquist

The last time I saw Jesus
I was drinking bloody marys in the South
In a barroom in New Orleans
Rinsin' out a bad taste in my mouth

She wore a dark and faded blazer
With a little of the lining hanging out
When the jukebox played Miss Dorothy Moore
I knew that it was him without a doubt

I said the road's been my redeemer
I never know just what on earth I'll find
In the faces of a stranger
In the dark and weary corners of a mind

She said the last highway is only
As far away as you are from yourself
And no matter just how bad it gets
It does no good to blame somebody else

Ain't it crazy
What's revealed when you're not looking all that close?
Ain't it crazy
How we put to death the ones we need the most?

I know I'm not a martyr
I've never died for anyone but me
The last frontier is only
The stranger in the mirror that I see

But when I least expect it
Here and there I see my savior's face
He's still my favorite loser
Falling for the entire human race

Ain't it crazy
What's revealed when you're not looking all that close?
Ain't it crazy
How we put to death the ones we need the most?

The last time I saw Jesus I was drinking bloody marys in the South...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Magic Flutes and Sacred Space

I went to see Stephanie Balavac and Rachel Bittner play in their flute choir, Magic Flutes, on Friday night. That's right, a 28-piece flute choir. All flutes, all the time. (OK, OK, there were a Native American drum, a keyboard and a double bass, too.) The music was unexpectedly beautiful. Steph introduced a piece that she had arranged, Mark O'Connor's "Appalachia Waltz," and there were other beautiful pieces by Vivaldi, Mozart, Bach, Debussy and more... Really nice. Emily went with me and nearly fell asleep on my lap. I kept offering to take her home early, but she wanted to stay for the cookies afterwards.

The concert was held at St. Matthew's Catholic Church in San Mateo. It was a very ornate sanctuary... One of my friends calls it the "Alien Jesus Church," but I found it oddly appealing. Having been raised in such sterile Evangelical surroundings (my most formative years spiritually were spent worshipping in a multi-purpose gymnasium/auditorium), I really find myself drawn to the sacred, the mystical... I know that's kind of stereotypically "postmodern," but it's true for me.

Humbled and Grateful...

I love being a part of a community of believers who are so committed to living the gospel in the world... Last Saturday was a beautiful day indeed.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell Dead at 73


Welcome home, Jerry... Rest in peace and may you be very surprised by the amazing grace of God.

I have so much to say about this... Jerry Falwell really influenced my early experience with faith. My parents were devotees of "The Old Time Gospel Hour" and even wore the "Jesus First" pins. However far I have come journeyed from my early admiration of his political views and his right-wing theological dogma, I am still grateful for the role he played in my life... if for no other reason than I can look back and see how I've grown in my understanding of our great God.

It'll be really interesting to see what the Evangelical community has to say about this over the next few days, as well as the broader Christian world. What will Muslims, gays and lesbians and feminists say? What kind of legacy has he left for the Kingdom of God? Is the world truly more "moral" because Falwell was in ministry for 50+ years?

More later. I have to get some work done.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Welcome to Matt's Blog 2.0. I used to blog on my website, but I hardly ever updated it. And I would always cut and paste it into my Myspace blog too, but that got to be really tedious. Blogger makes it really easy, so I'll try it out...

Since there's never really a good way to start, I'll just do a brief intro for anyone who cares, and then I can dive in to the things I really want to talk about tomorrow.

My name is Matt Nightingale. I'm a follower of Jesus; husband to Luanne and father to Joshua, Jacob, Emily and Zachary; pianist/singer/songwriter; music and creative arts pastor at Peninsula Covenant Church; and licensed minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church.

I'm passionate about God and what it looks like to be whole people, living as God designed us to live. I'm passionate about my wife and kids and being the best husband and father I can be. I'm passionate about music and the arts... creating it and enjoying it! I'm passionate about the Church, the Bride of Christ, and I want to know how I can serve God through the Church and help it to be relevant to a 21st Century world.

I'm passionate about culture, and I'm not afraid of it. I think God shows up in the world a lot more often than most Evangelicals seem to think he does, and I love to see glimpses of grace as the Kingdom slowly works its way through the big, bad world. I want to do all I can to redeem this place. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

My favorite band is Over the Rhine. My favorite show is Lost. (I'm currently catching up... nearing the end of Season 1 on DVD.)

I'm on Facebook and Myspace. Look me up.

If anything I write resonates in you, please join the conversation. I look forward to this journey together.
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