Friday, October 31, 2008

Gay Marriage

It’s with slight trepidation that I write this. I’m almost certain that my main argument and the overall point of this article will raise more than one eyebrow (of the conservative variety), but my feelings on this subject are of sufficient strength that I’m gonna write it anyway.

I’ve been planning this entry for awhile. Making mental notes and tossing the idea around, but up until now I haven’t felt seriously motivated to work on it. I can’t tell whether this is due to laziness on my part or if it God just didn’t want it up yet. That’s a moot point, though.

Gay Marriage is one of those hot buttons. It’s an issue that gets lobbed around like a volleyball, much in the same way that Abortion and The Economy do. I’ve been surprised (but not disappointed) by the lack of overall comment on the matter from the two presidential candidates, as I know it’s a big concern for a lot of people.

But what I can’t figure out is why. Why is this important? Why are we talking about it?

Let’s start with the Bible. It’s there that we find our Religious roots, so why the hell not.

Leviticus 18:22 says, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination”.

Okay, cool. That’s fairly straight forward. But that’s Old Testament, and as we all know, Old Testament law doesn’t hold a lot of sway over the modern Christian. If it did we’d be demolishing our houses as a means of combating persistent mildew (Leviticus 14:45) and we wouldn’t be allowed to eat shrimp ( Besides, we all know that Jesus died to forgive us for being imperfect, and to nullify the fact that we simply can’t follow all the Old Testament rules.

So let’s go to the New Testament. There’s lots of verses there, right? Surely some of them must be about homosexuality.

Romans 1:26-27 talks about it as being a bad thing, as does 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Paul wrote those books, and Paul was a good guy. We all like Paul. There are other verses that touch on the matter as well, so clearly it’s of SOME significance.

Alright, so it’s in the Old and New Testaments. Let’s take a look at what Jesus said about it. Jesus is the reason for this whole Christianity thing, after all, so he must have said something about an issue that is obviously so very, very important.

Oh wait.

Jesus never talked about homosexuality. Or if he did it’s not in any of the four gospels.

This is where it gets interesting for me. Jesus came to free us from our sin, and from the obligation of Old Testament law, or at least that’s how I understand it. That doesn’t mean that we can do whatever we want – we’re still called follow God’s guidelines for our lives and live as good, decent people, in harmony with God and one another, and-

Okay stop. Harmony. Toss that word around in your brain while we continue.

I once heard (or rather, read) someone say that Christians have an obligation to “stand up against injustice” and cited Abortion and Homosexual Rights as examples.

Now it gets technical, and I’ll try not to divert too much from the main point; what is injustice?

1. the quality or fact of being unjust; inequity.
2. violation of the rights of others; unjust or unfair action or treatment.
3. an unjust or unfair act; wrong.

Okay, cool. Thank God for

Now, Abortion I can understand. That I can see as injustice, or unjust, if you want. It’s a complicated issue, but I understand completely one defining Abortion as injustice. But “homosexual rights”?

I’m sorry, but what kind of self created world do you have to live in where another person’s personal lifestyle, a person who you’ve never met nor have anything to do with, effects you to a degree that you refer to it as an “injustice”?

I should word this carefully, so as not to be misunderstood – I disagree with the homosexual lifestyle. I don’t think it’s right, I don’t think it’s natural, and I don’t think God gives you the thumbs up if that’s how you choose to live.

But that’s just my opinion, and whether or not another person is attracted to the opposite sex is none of my business. It’s also not yours, your pastor’s, nor your church’s.

But we’re not talking about a LIFESTYLE choice, right? We’re talking about marriage. Marriage is a sacred institution, a contract between a man and a woman and God and the state, and marriage means different rules when it comes to taxes, and insurance policies, and bank accounts, and-

Stop again. Shut up. Stop.

I’d like to quote Lewis Black.

“On the list of things we have to worry about, Gay Marriage is on page six right after, ‘are we eating too much garlic as a people?’”

We live in a screwed up world. Two percent of the population controls half of the planet’s wealth. The AIDs epidemic is ravaging the African continent. Vietnam veterans are starving to death on our own streets, and public school teachers can lose their jobs for admitting that they believe in God.

And you’re pissed off because Bill and Ted want to be husbands?

This is my opinion, my main point:

Gay marriage affects three very specific groups of people, and no one else.

1) Gay couples.
2) Ministers who have to choose whether or not they’re comfortable marrying a gay couple.
3) People with too much time on their hands.

If you want something to protest, protest the fact that forty-million Americans can’t afford health care. Protest the fact that an African child dies every five seconds due to starvation. Protest the fact that the church can’t get its priorities straight.

Make a difference. Love someone. Do something that would make Jesus proud, instead of using his name as an excuse to throw a fit every time someone does something that you don’t like. Do something that furthers a culture of harmony in modern society.

I don’t believe we were ever called to tell other people how to live their lives or who they can and can not marry. I believe our calling is far more simplistic, and were we to champion it as opposed to all these other causes and crusades, Christianity would probably be held in a much higher regard within secular society.

“Love one another” (John 13:34-35, 15:12, and 15:17)

That’s something that Jesus DID talk about.

Special thanks to (read the “about” section of this site), Google, and

Agree, disagree, anything in between. Fire away. If I’ve misquoted scripture or gotten any facts wrong feel free to correct them. Also, the rules have not changed – keep it civil.

(PS – Someone said this to me once, and I wanted to throw it in here. Would you rather have a heterosexual son who sleeps with a different woman every night, or a homosexual son who sleeps with the same man every night?)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Reality and Truth

My night consisted of delving into a great Stuart Woods classic novel from the Stone Barrington Series when all of a sudden an epiphanic moment struck the inner cortex of my cognitive thoughts..........I wasn't in the mood to read. We all know the feeling. Not reading for a class. That's total crap. But reading for enjoyment or pleasure and you just aren't captivated by any means.

I relieved myself of that activity, sat down at the computer and decided to do some maintenance on the laptop since its been negligent towards my commands. Anyway, another insight erupted and I was forced with the need to verbalize what my mind was conceptualizing. At this point, I still don't know what I'm going to articulate, but I will try and make it sound very eloquent with ostentatious word-choice! HAHA (I'm laughing so hard right now. This actually sounds like I'm smart!)

If you have not noticed by now, our world is real messed up. You must be living under a rock if you haven't recognized that fact. Everyone is living their own reality while running around with their heads cut off. Like a chicken. To understand this, I think we have to define what is in our reality. Our reality is made up of how we view things. Not just by sight. View means not just visually, but how we behold, contemplate, observe, analyze, survey, scrutinize, etc. We use these as a medium to really “view” our beliefs, friends, relationships, surroundings, emotions, thoughts, etc. To put the two together would be to observe our surroundings, contemplate our friends/relationships, and analyze our emotions/thoughts. Because our realities are so disorganized in this present time under these arduous situations, no one can begin to perceive what the truth is. Constancy is unattainable.

Before I begin to talk about the “truth,” we need to explore the problem. You cannot have a correct solution without identifying the problem fully. Everything is so erroneous (bad) nowadays that the word "epidemic" is thrown around so nonchalant. For example, the AIDS crisis, the number of teenage drunk drivers, teachers having sex with underage students, kids playing violent video games, crime rates, murders, number of hours kids spend watching TV and surfing the net, etc.

If you ask me, I say human beings are the epidemic. We are the flaw. When we create ideas and solutions, we are just making more and more problems. As we further our discoveries, the problems arise just the same.

Furthermore, we have another dilemma that I think is one of the main issues. We have this mindset of, “go do whatever you want. So long as it doesn't mess me up, I could care less.” Guys and girls, it's exactly that thinking that's gotten us in this mess in the first place. We are turning to our own realities to try and escape what the real problem is. We retreat to our favorite song, read a book, go on the internet, bitch opinions to friends (what I’m doing right now). We are blaming everyone else when we are the problem.

But alas, we are also part of the solution.

The truth. What is the truth? Right now, everyone believes the truth is being held by one of the two candidates who are running for the office of President of the United States. If that’s the truth, we are doomed beyond all measure. We think the answer will be revealed by some great person who materializes an idea that will save us all. But let me tell you something…. (This is my reality that’s coming up. Take it or leave it people. Some people say my Jesus is a load of bullshit, well listen to this.) The answer to our problems is not an answer at all. It’s the Answerer. It’s Jesus himself. It’s not a bunch of words, it’s the word. It’s not a tightly woven philosophical argument, it’s a person. The answer to all our problems cannot just be an abstract idea, because this isn’t an abstract issue; it’s a personal issue. It requires a personal response. The answer must be someone, not just something, because the issue involves someone—“God, where are you?” (In this case, I’m saying “God” as truth.) None of our answers can be solved by any human, because we are all the same.

All the same.

We yearn for exactly what we need. To love and be loved. You cannot deny that. That’s where it all begins and ends. It’s so simple yet the most complex thing we’ll try to fathom. If you question if there is a Jesus, this is for you. In the end, God has only given us partial explanations. I’m sorry. Maybe that’s because he saw that a better explanation wouldn’t have been good for us. I don’t know why. Sometimes, I wish he’d give us more concrete information. But Jesus is more than an explanation; He’s what we really need. If your friend is sick and dying, the most important thing he wants is not an explanation; he wants you to sit with him. He’s terrified of being alone more than anything else. So God has not left us alone. I love him.

If you don’t like the ending, I’ll put it another way. At the end of the movie A Beautiful Mind, I think we’ve all seen it, John Nash gives a speech for his Nobel Prize Award….

“Thank you. I've always believed in numbers and the equations and logics that lead to reason. But after a lifetime of such pursuits, I ask,

"What truly is logic?"

"Who decides reason?"

My quest has taken me through the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional -- and back.

And I have made the most important discovery of my career, the most important discovery of my life: It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found.

I'm only here tonight because of you [to wife, Alicia].

You are the reason I am.

You are all my reasons…”

How about we get to know the creator of that love? If he has given us the chance to to embrace it, then he must be the love we seek even when no one’s there.

Bibliography: “” 2008. 23, October, 2008.

Nash, John. “American Rhetoric: Movie Speech.” American Rhetoric. 2008. 23, October, 2008.

Strobel, Lee. The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2000.

(Special thanks to Ryan Olsen for this week's update. If you haven't already, check out the We're Sorry Facebook group and drop us a line)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pure Speculation

I'll lead in with a disclaimer, just so we're all on the same page.

As the title of this entry implies, this is entirely theoretical. I got to thinking and kept thinking and finally my thinking gave way to one of those moments typically referred to as an epiphany, but I make no claims as to having discovered some sort of absolute truth. This is just an idea. One I think we ought to consider.

The exact "rules" and "details" concerning what Christians like to call Salvation are sketchy at best. Yes, we believe Jesus died for us, yes, it's only through him that we experience eternal life, blah blah blah heard it all before. But as far as what one has to do to qualify, we just can't seem to agree.
There is that verse which states that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. This is a paraphrase, and I don't know what the reference is. Look it up if you feel so inclined.

But we can't even seem to agree on what, exactly, that means. Some denominations believe that unless you're a part of their church and you follow their rules and are baptized their way, you're screwed. SOL. No heaven for you. Sorry.

Other denominations(and this seems to be the most widely accepted theory) believe that by default, upon birth, you're guilty, and unless you "get saved"(personally I can't stand this term. It's too condescending) before you die, that you're screwed. SOL. No heaven for you. Sorry.

And still other denominations believe the exact opposite. That upon birth, you're SAVED by default, and unless/until you CHOOSE not to believe in God, everything is fine and dandy. That you could live your life in blissful ignorance and end up in heaven, with or without ever joining a church or hearing the name "Jesus".

Personally, I don't know what to think. As far as who is going to heaven and who isn't, that's not my worry. I know where I'm going and I figure that's about all I have the right or responsibility to really be concerned with. That's not to say I don't care, but I can't even begin to be sure what the "rules" are. So why bother?

Once again, the nature of this article is purely hypothetical. Especially the following.

Let's roll with the latter theory for a minute. Assume that everybody is going to heaven automatically, and until they figuratively give God the finger, they have nothing to worry about.

What possible reason might anyone have for purposely choosing not to believe?

At first this is an easy question - science, evolution, logic, quantum physics, blah blah whatever else you want. Alright, fine. I'll take that.

But let's look at the last two thousand years of human history. Given consideration to the church and it's way of conducting itself, both past and present, do you think it might have been possible for the Church and, let's say science for instance, to have a better relationship? Couldn't we have gotten along a little better? Been a little less petty, a little less paranoid? Oh, and the Inquisition. That was a big one.

And if so, and if we had behaved better, then might - MIGHT - there be a lot less people in the world choosing NOT to believe?

Again, I'm not saying this is the way it works or that this is even what I believe. If I were to sit down and really try to figure out the 'mechanics' of salvation, I'd probably land somewhere in the middle. I don't know how that's even possible, which hopefully gives you an idea of where I currently stand - somewhere between No Idea and Got Other Things To Worry About.

Just an idea I thought I should share.

Anyway. This is not your 'official' update. That comes this weekend, courtesy of Ryan Olsen. That's right! An update written by somebody other than me. I think you'll enjoy it.

And as a side note, if you(yes, you) ever feel like contributing anything to We're Sorry, PLEASE let me know. You don't have to be an expert writer(I'm certainly not one). You don't even have to be a Christian. If you have something to say that you feel is conducive(is that the right word? I'm pretty sure it is) to what's being said here, then by all means, share it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Now this is a problem.

I think this speaks for itself.

Come on guys. Come on.

EDIT: I guess I should clarify this one. I work in a CD store, and there's nothing worse than coming across a stack of CDs that thick, sitting around waiting for you to put them away. Evidence suggests that this stack was created by someone perusing the Christian and Gospel section, and typically, only a select group of people tend to do that. I'm sure you see where this is going.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I'm sick of music.

I'm serious. I can't deal with it anymore.

Seems like it's either one or the other. Either it's a wave of mediocre secular stuff that, while often structurally sound(speaking of the arrangement and compatibility of lyrics unto one another) is boring and meaningless and was obviously written to sell a record, OR it's a creeping biomass of Christian and Gospel music that's... the same thing. Except it's about Jesus.

Where's the GOOD stuff? Written by artists who give a flip about what they're saying, and are talented enough to keep me interested while they say it? Actually there's a lot of it. You just have to wade through sewage to find it.

But we're not talking about music as a whole today. Oh no, that's not what we're talking about. Today we're discussing Christian Music, and the neutered steer it's become. That's where my beef is and that's where we're going.

Christian music spent a few centuries as a being comprised mainly of monastic chants and hymns. All of it, while often beautiful and written with all due sincerity, became less and less relatable as the world did what's commonly known as changing(something the church has a real problem with). So then the 90's and 80's rolled around and we got stuff like, "Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music"(A song which answers it's own question), and then artists like Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith showed up. Also Steve Green (*shudder*).

Then Christian Music was what's still known as contemporary. Oh snap, we can play drums and light rock in church? That's okay? Well, no, not if you ask the church elders, but in some places you were able to get away with it.

And now here we are, 2008, and as far as what's changed, there isn't much to say. We have Christian rappers now, that's nice, and a few Christian metal bands. Well good. Maybe the sinners will buy those albums by mistake and come to a saving and redemptive knowledge of Jesus Christ.

What? No? They won't? Using popular media as a cop-out for actual sincerity and earnest faithful living won't work? Especially because we stock all that crap in the "Christian & Gospel" section at all the retailers? Oh. Okay. Well, let's keep doing it anyway.

This is my problem in a nutshell: Christian music, hell, Christian media in general, is unoriginal. It's either an imitation of itself, or an imitation of popular secular media. Ever heard of KJ-52? He's the Christian Eminem(I actually kind of like some of his stuff, in all fairness, contrived as it is). Ever listen to Demon Hunter? They're the Christian(insert angry metal band here). How about Krystal Meyers? She fills her role as the Christian Avril Lavigne quite dutifully, and recently, has even taken a few bold steps onto Katy Perry's turf(minus the songs about homosexuality of course. We all know God hates the queers[this is sarcasm]).

And here's the problem, here's what gets me, and here's why I haven't said anything before now - there's nothing necessarily wrong with any of this. If a bunch of Christians get together and want to form a heavy metal band, and they JUST SO HAPPEN to write songs with religious significance, then what the hell, do it. If Krystal Meyers can't decide whether she likes being Avril or Katy more, then sure, be both. Lord knows enough secular artists blatantly rip each other off every day, so why shouldn't we be able to get away with it?

The issue, the crime is that we were never called to sit by, watch popular culture, and then create our own version of it so that we could reap the entertainment value while still keeping our Sunday pants on.

The following is an exert from God's Blogs by Lanny Donoho. It's a really good book and if you ever get the chance to read it, I highly recommend you do so. This of course from a guy who hasn't finished it. I got it for free at a youth worker's convention back in '06, but it's a damn good book.

"Bubbles are thin layers of film made of liquid and soap that hold pockets of air. All the air inside the bubble is separated from all the rest of the air outside the film. Most of you know all that. As I mentioned in a previous post, it's pretty natural to want to burst a bubble when you see it.
There is one that I would like to burst. I have a strong desire for My children, the ones who love Me and claim Me as their father, to be who I made them to be and to relate well in a culture that doesn't yet know me.
Some, however, have chosen to build a wall or a bubble around themselves to keep them away from the culture. They focus inward and tragically don't want outsiders in there with them. It seems kinda silly to Me when I see anger and rejection flare up inside your bubble because some of your artists decide to perform or write for the folks outside of your bubble.
Here is a thought...
Artists who are Christians have a better shot at changing the world than "Christian artists."
You now have your own Christian stores and books and singers and mints. You have created your own clothing and music and lingo, and you have isolated the rest of the world.
You have built a bubble around yourselves and used insider thoughts to try to influence outsiders... and they aren't getting it. As a matter of fact, they see your bubble and your actions inside that bubble and they hear your words and they are choosing not to get in there with you. And that is a wise choice. I didn't send My Son to die so you could form a club and dance at your own recital. I did it so all people could see Me and experience Me and understand forgiveness and grace and mercy and love, and so everyone would dance at My recital... and so I could dance at everyone else's.
The world has become dark, and bubbles can't be seen in the dark. Sometimes I want to take a God-sized pin and burst your bubbles

and hand you all a light instead.

This is exactly what I'm getting at. Rather than try and summarize it I thought you just outta read it.

Not too long ago this guy named Brian "Head" Welch(You know that one band, KoRn? They're a little bit popular. Just a little bit.) left his drug and sex laiden lifestyle behind, saying that "I believe I would be dead right now if I continued using Meth, but instead, I chose to surrender my life to Christ and die to myself so He could share His resurrection with me". He left KoRn and is now a Solo artist producing a sound similar to that of his former gig, but instead of KoRn's message of... well, you know KoRn... he's telling HIS story and helping other drug addicts to escape from the lifestyle that he himself was trapped in. The above quote might sound Churchy to the un-churched, but don't be fooled - this is not your typical celebrity conversion. Consider the following, Welch's new music video for the song Flush,

Oh my God.

Of course the conservatives flipped out, and a bunch of retailers actually pulled his CD from the shelves. Welch said the following in response,

"The video for FLUSH is about Crystal Meth addiction and the crazy things anyone addicted to Meth will do while they’re high or to get their fix. Everything the models were doing in the video is what I was wrapped up in while I was addicted to Meth. The video is a very realistic look at the addiction and where it will lead you if you get hooked. I understand the images of the models may be too much for some people, but honestly, I was just trying to be real with what happened in my life and show where I was, as well as where I am at now...

...I totally understand that the video may be a bit too much for some conservative people and I respect everyone’s choice. But to me, taking my CDs off the shelves because of a music video (that isn’t being sold with the CD) is a bit too extreme! There is a huge message of hope on my CD and I believe those retailers that are pulling the CD from their shelves are robbing someone spiritually by taking it off of the shelves. But, thank GOD for iTunes!...

...I’m not called to be a Sunday School teacher obviously….I mean, just look at me….(Smile)…..I’m called to speak to people that understand my language and I’m gonna be as REAL as possible. The CHEESE has to disappear from the Christian media. I challenge the conservative Christians to start thinking “outside the box,” and get real with how they try and connect with the masses!!

Oh yeah….one more very important thing….I love you all….Even you conservative nit pickers!!!

How beautiful. How perfectly and eloquently put. Mr. Welch has a greater understanding of what it means to SHARE Jesus with the rest of the world than most(and I mean most. I'd guess at eighty percent) of the self proclaimed "Christians" I've met in my years as a church goer(twenty years now, eight of those spent asking myself just what the hell is wrong with us[twenty one if you count the months prior to my birth hahah gestation reference]). And even in the face of ignorant, bad-mouthing censorship, he has the caliber, the heart to say, "I love you all"

Holy God.

How many of the people who condemned him for the content of his video said the same? This is just a guess but I'm going with zero. I'm gonna go buy his album on iTunes as soon as I'm done with this first draft.

Christianity Today and Patrol Magazine recently commented on the sound of Christian music. I have to say that both make valid statements and I understand exactly what they're talking about.

I work at FYE(For Your Entertainment, a property of Trans World Entertainment), which is a music and movie(and usually) video game store. We have a bunch of TVs mounted to the walls and they play music videos all day(sometimes they play The Nightmare Before Christmas). We play a wide variety of stuff, from rap to rock to screamo to pop to... Christian.

Three Christian songs are included in our current playlist(I won't name the artists), and I'd never heard the songs before I started working there. Literally, three chords in, I said to myself, "That's [artist name]". Another one started up a half hour or so later and I thought, "That's probably a Christian band". 'Nother half hour later, "Gotta be a Christian song." I didn't look at the monitor, I promise. I didn't even hear the lyrics(with the exception of the third one. She got two lines in before I made my first approximation).

All three times I was right. All three times. 3/3. That's what's known as 100%.

And that's not because I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Christian music, it's not because I'm a musical expert, and it's not because I work in a record store. It's because Christian Music(and all other Christian media) is doing the same thing it did for decades and centuries before it tried to modernize with light rock just a short time ago - rehashing a tired and overused formula, doubling back on itself, and inbreeding, producing a myriad of lackluster content aimed at selling records to the people who will, inevitably, spend money on them. Although, at the writing of most hymns, record stores didn't exist.

I realize that Secular music does the same thing. Secular media does the same thing. Been to the movies lately? You've seen it all before. I suppose it's not even the rehashing that bothers me. The PROBLEM is this idea, this apparent need to be separate from everything else, and to designate things as "Christian" and "non-Christian".

Rob Bell was recently interviewed by Patrol Magazine(I really like these guys, both of them) and made the following statement,

"I would argue that if you need to add a label to it, than you have missed its inherent goodness in the first place. So when people tack "Christian" as an adjective onto things, it's a misunderstanding of Genesis, that creation is already blessed, it doesn't need your adjectives or labels to somehow make it blessed. "
(You can read the interview here, which I strongly advise that you do)

I have a friend who's a huge music buff. He's really picky. He listens to just about everything, genre wise, but if something sucks(in his opinion), he doesn't listen to it. He has an ear for what's good and what's bad.

A year or so back he really got into Tracy Chapman, specifically the song "Fast Car". He made the remark once, "I could worship to that song."

You'd have thought that he just claimed Jesus was a gay space alien and that we were all his action figures.

Our youth pastor at the time started talking about how horrible that was and how far from God this friend of mine must be. This was of course to myself and several other parties, not the person who made the initial statement.

I nodded my head and went along with it at the time, but looking back I find myself asking just what exactly the big deal was. A human being felt inspired and expressed it through musical, God-given talent, and another human being saw God's beauty through that talent. And this is somehow wrong? Don't even think about reminding me of Chapman's sexual orientation. I don't care and neither should you.

Don't mistake me - "Christian" music is important. We need Tomlins and Hillsongs and Newsboys just as much as we need Switchfoots and Welchs and Chapmans.

But what we don't need, what we need to be without, is this construction of our own culture, our own society, somehow removed from everything else that's going on. We were called to be in the world and not of it, not outside it and of ourselves.

I believe that this is a prime example. Commercialism with a sweet sugary coating of Jesus Music. I'd love for somebody to explain to me why this is necessary, and don't tell me that Christian kids should have their own Guitar Hero because the other one has "bad" music in it. Nothing in Guitar Hero is going to drag our kids to hell or get them hooked on drugs. I promise.

I don't know if there's a solution to this or not. What I do know is that Christian media has a problem, and maybe over time things will start to change. Plenty of people in the industry have already realized it, but it's going to take a lot more than that.
I'm not telling you to stop buying Christian CDs or boycott Chris Tomlin. All I'm saying is that art is worship, and music is art. That in mind, do we really need our own industry?

Special thanks to Patrol Magazine, Christianity Today, Rob Bell, and Brian Welch. None of them will probably ever read this, but that's alright.

I want your opinions. Agree, disagree, or anything in between. We've need to start talking about this stuff.

(PS - I did buy Welch's album, and it's great.)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

And they blamed the music.

Full article on music soon to follow. For now though, I'd like to highlight what GOOD can come when believers pick up guitars and jot down lyrics. Here are five bands which run, more or less, in the Christian musical vein without being blatantly evangelical.

1. Flyleaf - Hard hitting vocals and lyrics that might actually mean something. Solid instrumentals that punch you in the eardrum. Lacey Mosley's vocal prowess makes them more than worth a listen, and her distinctive, almost haunting harmonization clashes beautifully with her hard hitting screams. You've probably heard "I'm So Sick" played somewhere, given it's success both in Christian and Secular arenas. Here's a video, so this article won't be too boring.

2. Mute Math - Those that know me can attest to Mute Math being one of my favorite bands. Born in part of the defunct Earthsuit, Paul Meany brings to the table his knack for phraseology that makes you think twice about what you're listening to. From the fast paced, "Chaos" to the ambient "Stare at The Sun", Mute Math's debut album was an underrated, almost underground musical offering which shouldn't be passed up by anyone. Mute Math is known not for being a Christian band, but rather a, "band of Christians", and like Flyleaf, bears no qualms about showing their faith in their song writing. Shown here is a video from Mute Math's official Youtube page, titled, "Lavatory Loops", in which we see them working on the new album. Which I can't wait for.

Worth mentioning is Earthsuit, previously mentioned, and another of my favorite bands. While now disbanded, Earthsuit did things that the Christian music scene had never scene before, introducing a distinctive blend of hip hop, rock and techno. It's difficult to describe, and simply must be experienced to be understood.

3. Switchfoot - You've heard of these guys. I know you have. They've been around for years. With six albums currently under their belt they're probably one of the most well know alternative bands still kicking. Starting with The Legend of Chin in 1997, they went on to release two more independent albums(New Way to be Human in 1999, and Learning to Breathe in 2000), before striking it big with The Beautiful Letdown. Perhaps most well known for, "Meant to Live", Switchfoot's music has always been mellow and energetic. Both of those. Following BL came Nothing is Sound, and most recently, Oh! Gravity. NiS was very chill, not so rock based, while O!G was pumped full of classic Switchfoot rock elements reminiscent of BL.

Rather than proclaiming the Biblical wonders of the Lord, Switchfoot's method concerning faith has always been subtle. Rather than tell you how great Jesus is, they seem to want to show by portraying a message of realistic hope and optimism. Here's their "Stars" music video, from the Nothing is Sound album. Very artsy. And good.

4. The Fray - I'm hoping some of you just went, "Yeah, the Fray." Everybody likes the Fray. Alright, so, maybe not everybody.

Yet another Band of Christians. The Fray's music is relaxing. Peaceful, yet brutally honest. Isaac Slade, the band's lead vocalist, pianist and songwriter originally wrote specifically Christian music, but avoided Christian record labels because, "None of my friends outside the church understood any of my songs; we had a different set of vocabulary" So instead Slade devoted his talent to more relevant, realistic songs about life. Life, hope, and whatever else you care to read into them. I won't say much about them because you're probably already familiar with them. But just in case,

5. The David Crowder Band - Alright, so, I dunno. Maybe they don't belong here. DCB is probably the most blatantly Christian band I listen to, but with good reason.

Instead of rehashing the same old, "Might Jesus Messiah Son of God blah blah" formula, DCB's music has always been distinctive and unique. From the live album, "The Lime CD" to the critically acclaimed, "A Collision" and the most recent "Remedy", the Crowder band's music bears a specific quality rarely seen in worship bands. Their instrumentals are solid, untouchable even. The titular singer's vocals are sincere, often with a layer of desperation that lets you know he means what he's saying. Lyrically Crowder's music has always been without the feeling of, "I'm a Christian artist and I'm on a Christian label so I'll write Christian music." It's instead one of, "I can't deny what God is, and I can't help but express it."

Are we left here on our own?
Can you feel when your last breath is gone?
Night is weighing heavy now

From Egypt lately come
Where death and darkness reign
To seek our new our better home
Where we our rest shall gain

There sin and sorrow cease
And every conflict’s o’er
There we shall dwell in endless peace
And never hunger more


Why do You shine so?
Can a blind man see?
Why do You call?
Why Do You beckon me?
Can the deaf hear the voice of love?
Would You have me come?
Can the cripple run?


The heart breaking makes a sound
I never knew could be
So beautiful and loud
Fury filled and we collide

So courageous until now
Fumbling and scared
So afraid You'll find me out,
Alone here with my doubt

Here it comes, a beautiful collision
Is happening now.
There seems no end to where You begin and there I am now

You and I collide

That's a sample, I guess. Lyrics found via Google do them no justice though, trust me. I've been to Crowder concerts, and they are astounding.

A Collision in particular covered a wide array of genres, from contemporary worship to bluegrass country, to techno, hard rock-opera ballads and other stuff which can't quite be defined in traditional terminology.

I could gush about DCB for paragraphs, so I'll sum it up with this video and a strong recommendation. Later this week, I hope to have more on music typed out.