Sunday, March 31, 2013

This Easter Foolishness

"and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless..." -- 1 Corinthians 15:17, NASB

Today's the day we believers celebrate the event that makes us come off like people who have lost our minds, the event that confounds the wisdom of man and welcomes the faith of a child, the event that singularly transforms a grouping of "good advice" ideas into a relationship with the creator of all that is, the event that -- taken at the mere utterance of it -- separates one human from another ideologically and sets "man against man," yet ironically allows us as believers to open up to love everyone because we can finally exercise the ability to love supernaturally, and, as I said at the beginning, the event that even to describe it to someone else can immediately move you from the "pretty smart and normal guy" category to the "what a freakin' looney toon" category even if your friends would never tell you that to your face.

Today's the day we as believers celebrate the event that makes us fools while ultimately changing everything.

So I hope all my fellow believers have a happy, reflective, foolish, freaky, faith-filled, looney toon Easter!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's not the singer, it's the song (with apologies to Survivor)

I put into words today something I've always known about my music listening habits but had never been able fully explain before (I think).

I enjoy music that showcases either the passion of the singer for the song (not his or her own voice), the work/art of the songwriter, the natural ability of the musician, and any combination thereof. What I don't (or perhaps can't) enjoy is music that showcases the vocal gymnastics of the vocalist or the hipness of the producer.

Now, I understand that those can cross sometimes. Hip producers can work with a fantastic and artistic band, and vocally gymnastic divas (of either gender) can fully deliver the breadth of a powerful song.

I also understand that sometimes a bad singer can deliver a powerful song (as my wife would say about Bob Dylan), or a woefully hip producer can ignore the intent of the songwriter and ruin what was an impactful song. 

I also know that my tastes have little to do with genre or style, but more with the passion intrinsic to the song or the performance (as long as said performance is about the song, not to show off the singer or band).

Listening to music has always been for me one of two things: (1) listening technically as a musician to better myself and "learn" the magic behind the song and (2) listening as a spiritual exercise as the song changes me somehow and says something to me. Very rarely do I "use" music as mere background noise, except at work, because that's expected in a retail environment. For me, listening to music is an active endearvor, not a passive one.

So, I guess this is all to say that when Lisa, the kids, and I argue about what station to listen to on the radio, I know know why I prefer to find a classic rock or "mixed-up" station rather than a top-40 one.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The dangerous, painful, agonizing, irritating and irksome side of faith

A good friend I respect posted this today: "I can't fucking stand the self-righteous religious hypocrites."

To which I responded: 

"I feel the same way, and when I do, that's when I have to remind myself that as a believer in grace and mercy, I have to continue to extend it to the same self-righteous asswipes (see, I still have issues with it myself) who make my faith seem so backwards and blind and well, self-righteous. It's a painful, two-edged sword to live.

"I live right in the middle of that world, and trust me, it hasn't apparently gotten any easier for us to see the planks in our own eyes while railing about the toothpicks in others' eyes."

I agree with him wholeheartedly, but that's the dangerous, painful, agonizing, irritating and irksome side of faith in a gracious God -- we're called to be like Him, including that whole quick to forgive thing.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Curtain of Iron -- Wise Words

Some words of wisdom from the great Kerry Livgren...

Kansas from the album Audio Visions  
Words and Music by Kerry Livgren

The streets of the city are barren
All the windows and doors have been closed
As the night draws near
You can feel their fear

Their freedom is just an illusion
And they tell us that love is a lie
Can it all be true
What can one man do

See the pages as they turn
Never will the children learn
Born as a prisoner in a curtain of iron
Never will the pages turn

The City of Gold's in the distance
And they've already forgotten their dream
Visions slowly fade
In this land of shade

See the pages as they turn
Never will the children learn
Born as a prisoner in a curtain of iron
Never will the pages turn

As the power grows, darkness spreading
Hope is still alive, though we're dreading
What the future holds, no more need to
Fear what all men face
Only good can win the race

Rumors speak of war, all the nations
Turmoil in the streets, tribulations
Now it's plain to see
All the prophecies are taking place
Only good can win the race

There are fragments of Truth still remaining
And they bring them the Light of the World
To this hope we cling
Till the bells will ring

See the pages as they turn
In their wisdom we will learn
Our bloody history soon will resolve
See the pages as they turn
In their wisdom we will learn
Free from the prison, a curtain of iron