Songs I Can’t Turn Off – Coldplay’s “When I Ruled the World,” Thank you Issues Etc! by Pr. Rossow

Things have been pretty serious in BJS land for the last couple of weeks so let’s take a break and make a couple of fun/profound lists.

You pull into the parking place and you are about to get out of the car when that song comes on the radio (cd, i-pod, etc.) and you just can’t turn it off. What’s on your list? I hope you will share it with the BJS gang on the comment list below. My list includes a few songs from The Who, Buddy Holly, Asleep at the Wheel and even a couple from the Carpenters. (Yes, I said “The Carpenters.” Don’t worry – I am in therapy for that.)

So I pull into the church parking lot this morning and I hear “When I Ruled the World” by Coldplay. Because it is the bump song for Issues Etc. and because it is a really cool song, it has become one of those that I just can’t turn off. As I wrote this post, I pulled up the song from the intraweb and listened to it five times in a row. (I am also in therapy for obsessive/compulsive behavior.) Speaking if Issues, Etc. that leads me to a second list that I would like you to contribute to on the comments below.

I thank God for Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz because of their contribution to the confessional Lutheran revival going on around the world. I think the only person or group I would put before them in a top ten list of confessional Lutheran influences would be the confessional professors in the LCMS of the past and present (e.g. Nagel, Hummel, Marquart, Robert Preus, etc.).

So in addition to the music list, let’s hear from you about your notion of the top contributors (people, institutions, historical events, etc.) to confessional Lutheranism. While you do that I am going to press the play button one more time on “When I Ruled the World.”

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Songs I Can’t Turn Off – Coldplay’s “When I Ruled the World,” Thank you Issues Etc! by Pr. Rossow — 40 Comments

  1. My audio introduction to Lutheranism (we don’t have a local congregation – so I get everything online) include the following (in no particular order):

    – Issues, Etc.
    – Fighting for the Faith
    – God Whisperers
    – Table Talk Radio

    I believe there are a couple others; but the names escape my memory just at this moment.

  2. Oh, I love this song, because of Issues! Both of our boys, ask for this song, because of Issues, Etc. Have no idea, nor do I want to know, what the motivation was for ColdPlay. I leave that, those those at Issues, Etc., to ck & balance!
    Viva la Vida, ColdPlay. Ck it out, folks….

  3. Love Viva la Vida because of Issues, etc. (My kids kid me because it’s about the closest I come to “cool”). Also stop everything for “Freebird”, “Unchained Melody”, “Sweet Caroline”, and “Sunday Bloody Sunday”.

    Theological influences:
    Dr. Nagel, Sasse’s “We Confess..” series, and discussing theology over amber beverages during my STM studies with the likes of Brent Kuhlman, Bill Cwirla, Matt Harrison, and Harald Tomesch.

  4. @Rev. Stephen Schumacher #3
    Harald Tomesch! I love that guy! I had him for Greek in undergraduate at Mequon! A favorite prof for sure.

    Music: “BTO”, “The Who”, and for some reason I can never get “Chicago” songs out of my head.

    Theological Influences: I second the Sasse, I’d also add “The Word of the Lord Grows” and “The Word Becoming Flesh”, and Dr. Voelz and Dr. Raabe’s inspiring and infectious love for the Greek and Hebrew languages!

  5. As a recent convert (in the last 2 years) to confessional Lutheranism, here’s my list of influences.

    Handling the Word of Truth – Pless
    Spirituality of the Cross – Veith
    On Being a Theologian of the Cross – Forde
    Book of Concord Reader’s Edition

    Those books completed my move over to the confessional side. As for the people who now keep me there, here’s that list:

    Jonathan Fisk (Worldview Everlasting)
    Chris Rosebrough (Fighting for the Faith)
    Bryan Wolfmueller and Evan Goeglein (Table Talk Radio)
    Todd Wilken (Issues Etc)
    Hans Fiene (Lutheran Satire)

    My current reading stack to be read or in process:
    Ministry, Word and Sacraments – Chemnitz
    The Quest for Holiness – Koeberle
    Walther’s Law and Gospel
    Pieper’s Dogmatics vol. 1
    Examination of the Council of Trent vol IV – Chemnitz
    The Lutheran Difference – part of my Essential Lutheran Library

  6. The Fire And The Staff: Lutheran Theology In Practice by Klemet I. Preus
    Christian Dogmatics by Francis Pieper, D.D.

  7. Let’s see… on the music list:

    (Not ranked by order.)

    1) The Who — Baba O’Riley
    2) Led Zepplin — When the Levee Breaks
    3) Ramones — Teenage Labatomy
    4) Billy Squire — In the Dark
    5) Cream — White Room
    6) Yardbirds — For Your Love
    7) U2 — Sunday Bloody Sunday
    8. ) Scorpions — Loving You Sunday Morning
    9) Jethro Tull — Aqualung
    10) Pink Floyd — Echoes


    (Not ranked by order.)

    1) Book of Concord… of course!
    2) Luther “Bondage of the Will,” “Lectures on Galatians (chapters 5-6)”
    3) Chemnitz “Enchiridion,” “Lord’s Supper,” “Examination of the Council of Trent.”
    4) Herman Sasse “This is My Body”
    5) John Pless “Handling the Word of Truth”
    6) Charles P. Krauth “The Conservative Revolution”
    7) Francis Pieper “Christian Dogmatics”
    8. ) C.F.W. Walther “Law and Gospel”
    9) Robert Preus “The Inspiration of Scripture”
    10) Bo Giertz “The Hammer of God”

    And since we are talking “theological influences” I have to list my pastors, Ernie Lassman and Trevor Mankin. Yes, I am being “Captain Obvious” but my pastors work very hard and deserve many kudos!

  8. Music:
    1)Led Zeppelin
    2)Three Dog Night
    3)Lovin’ Spoonful

    Theological Influences:

    Hermann Sasse, Charles Porterfield Krauth, C. F. W. Walther, Martin Chemnitz, John Andrew Quenstedt, My Dad, brothers, and my pastors…

    I am not going to say who my favorite professor is…

  9. Some wise-acre commented the other day that the only rock music coming out of KFUO these days is on Issues Etc!

  10. @mbw #12
    I do believe it was Pastor Nagel who gripped the rail on that flying pulpit at St. Paul’s and leaned out over the congregation as he explained to the congregation during his sermon what “abomination” means: “An abomination. Is something that makes. God. Want. To puke.” They said people in the congregation below were almost ducking! LOL

  11. Ted Crandall :
    @mbw #12
    I do believe it was Pastor Nagel who gripped the rail on that flying pulpit at St. Paul’s and leaned out over the congregation as he explained to the congregation during his sermon what “abomination” means: “An abomination. Is something that makes. God. Want. To puke.” They said people in the congregation below were almost ducking! LOL

    I was introduced to Dr. Nagel by Issues Etc.
    I was introduced to the Lutheran Church and Issues Etc by KFUO .

  12. I ask you, who among us can turn off Low Spark of High Heeled Boys by Traffic?

    I need to sit and listen all the way through just to ask myself the same question. What in the world does this song mean? Will I figure it out if I just listen again?


  13. Mary,

    I have heard that song a zillion times and never really made a connection to the group. I just viewed a youtube version of it with an extra long intro and I will agree that it is a cool song (particularly the jazz intro on that version) but it falls just short of making my list.

    Thanks for the contribution.

  14. A friend sent the YouTube connection to Cannonball Adderly playing “Autumn Leaves” this morning. I have followed that song through more jazz (Miles Davis), symphony, to Yves Montand and Edith Piaf. Someone has put up some beautiful photos of autumn leaves to back one and another of these versions, which is what I really miss in the fall.

    But now I am back to LPR’s Easter music.

  15. Pastor Tim Rossow :
    Great stuff! Here is the link everybody:
    Although, it probably is a little too classy for this joint with the likes of me and Jim Pierce hanging out here.

    I like the selection! Although, I think you’re right. I would have to buy a dinner jacket, some nice slacks and shoes. And then learn to dance to really enjoy Miles… Hmm… I’ll stick with rock, dirty jeans, grease stained t-shirt, and a beer. 😉

  16. @Jim Pierce #21
    I like the selection! Although, I think you’re right. I would have to buy a dinner jacket, some nice slacks and shoes.

    If you are going to all that trouble, listen to Yves Montand or Edith Piaf doing the same song!

  17. helen :
    @Jim Pierce #21
    I like the selection! Although, I think you’re right. I would have to buy a dinner jacket, some nice slacks and shoes.
    If you are going to all that trouble, listen to Yves Montand or Edith Piaf doing the same song!


  18. About that other list:

    1. The multi denominational uproar that followed IssuesEtc’s departure from KFUO
    speaks to their impression on present day Christianity.

    2. Kurt E Marquart
    If you know, that needs no explanation;
    if you don’t, it would take too much space to tell you here

  19. Music:

    1. Meatloaf – especially (but not limited too) anything off of Bat Out of Hell I or II
    2. Billy Joel
    3. Nickelback’s “Rockstar”
    4. Eagles’ “Desperado”
    5. Eric Clapton – especially “Wonderful Tonight” & “Layla” (either version)

    Dr. Kenneth Korby
    Dr. Ronald Feuerhahn
    Dr. Norman Nagel

  20. Music:
    Anything by the 77’s. Petra (sorry, I can be OCD for cheese). Sting (the ONLY person I would gladly swap lives with). Iona (I’m a sucker for the Celtic stuff). …and Randy Stonehill. …cause it’s a great big stupid world. My music list could be it’s own blog entirely though, these are just five from the top of my head. I listen to just too much, from too diverse a spectrum. Mozart to Metallica. A second amen for U2, Ramones, and Rush.

    Theologians: The five people most directly responsible for converting me to Lutheranism are:
    Michael Spencer (R.I.P., SBC), Michael Horton (I just thanked him personally today at the Mockingbird conference), Robert Webber (for teaching me to think historically about worship, along with Donald Hustad), CFW Walther (for single-handedly ruining 99% of Evangelical preaching for me), and J. S. Bach, for showing me what a music ministry could possibly be if you put your soul into it. Wilken, Fisk, the God Whisperers, Rod Rosenblad, and the rest of the PCR crowd go without saying, of course.

    It’s late, so I’ll probably update my list tomorrow.

  21. Music:
    1. Anything by Van Halen as long as DLR is singing it.
    2. Billy Joel
    3.Anything by Nickelback, especially “Photograph”
    4. Cold Play, not just Viva La Vida (although I got addicted to the song through Issues)
    Theological influes/Talk Shows:
    1. Issues Etc.
    2. F4F
    3. White Hors Inn
    4. The Academy
    5. Sermons From Holy Trinity
    Influences: Theologians
    1. Pr. wilken
    2. Dr. Norman Nagel
    3. Herrmann Sasse
    4. Dr. Voelz
    5. Dr. Brighton
    6. Dr. Feuerhahn (who yanked the evangelicalism nonsense out of me in the class, Lutherans In North America
    7. Dr. Rast in his interviews on Issues ETc.
    8. Pr. Cwirla
    9. Dr. Scott Murray
    10. Of course, my own pastor, Mark Stirdivant at Holy Cross in KC who gives some of the best and clearest sermons you will ever hear with Law and Gospel rightly divided

  22. I’ll never forget the time my family was out shopping and Cold Play’s Viva La Vida came on the store’s sound system. My son who was 5 at the time got excited and said, “Hey Dad, they’re playing the Issues Etc. song!”

    It was also around that same time when that same 5 year old who was fascinated with pirates once asked, “Hey Dad, what does that guy mean when he says ‘We’ll be takin’ your false doctrine now… ha ha ha’?”


    Lifehouse – Breathing

    “I’m finding my way back to sanity again
    Though I don’t really know what I’m gonna do when I get there
    I take a breath and hold on tight
    Spin around one more time
    And gracefully fall back to the arms of grace

    ‘Cause I am hanging on every word you’re saying
    Even if you don’t wanna speak tonight
    That’s alright, alright with me
    ‘Cause I want nothing more than to sit outside heaven’s door
    And listen to you breathing
    It’s where I wanna be, yeah
    Where I wanna be ”

    Lifehouse – Unknown

    “this doubt is screaming in my face
    in this familiar place,
    sheltered and concealed
    and if this night won’t let me rest
    don’t let me second guess
    what i know to be real put away
    all i know for tonight and maybe i just might learn
    to let it go take my security from me
    and maybe finally i won’t have to know everything
    i am falling into grace to the unknown to where you are”

    One of the favorite bands – not sure if the songs are meant to be religious but i thought they were many years ago – now i am reading over the lyrics – picking at them.

  24. Thanks for starting this list, Pr. Rossow (although I think the “Lutheran influences” might well be separated under a different header).

    I’ve been listening to Miles Davis’ jazz and some others, and realizing why I got off the “pop music” train. It wasn’t only because music changed from the big bands, and soft jazz to rock [and the “noise” I hear when I go out these days.] And it’s not a happy memory.
    I’ll listen to things from your lists and see what happened while I was “away”.

    A friend or two have encouraged this recently by mentioning one group or another.
    [Did anyone list the Canadian Brass (is that right?); they impressed me at an LWML concert once in the Black Hills, the last “National” I attended.]

    Have a good evening! I’ve got a “date” for a ball game. LOL!

  25. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Gustav Mahler. I just discovered his music and there is something manic and magnificent about everything he composed. His Resurrection Symphony (No. 2) is perfect listening material for the Easter season.

    Haydn’s Creation has also become a favorite lately.

    With the passing of Dick Clark and Levon Helm, I’ve popped in a couple of CD’s that remind me of what we’ve lost. For Levon Helm, almost anything by The Band will do (though I’m really partial to Northern Lights/Southern Cross because I think his vocal on “Acadian Driftwood” is one of the most magnificent in rock music. In honor of Dick Clark, I think I’ll pop in “Loud, Fast, and Out of Control.” This 4 CD set from Rhino proves that rock was never wilder than when it was just starting out as rock n roll in the 50’s.

    Actually, I’ll listen to just about anything. I never could warm up to most jazz, though. Oh, and don’t get me started on the current state of country! Pop music with a little twang!

  26. For most of the past year, I set my alarm clock to CD setting and woke up to Miles Davis.

  27. Thanks, mbw,
    I’ll have to try it at home. I can listen to YouTube but I can’t add “spotify” (or anything else) here.

  28. It’s a good history lesson too. Try and figure out all of the references (hint – they’re Byzantine).

  29. Pastor Spomer :
    Could someone explain “Roman Cavalry Choirs” to me?

    This all reminds me of when I was a kid trying to read something good into Beatle songs, and much worse.

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