Tuesday, October 24, 2006

the land of the free, and the home of the ridiculous

in california, washington, arizona, and other places such as oregon, wyoming, and south carolina, schools are banning games such as "tag" and "dodgeball", because they may be damaging to self esteem, and may be too physically dangerous for their young students. (click links for full stories)

so, the moral? don't let your kids feelings get hurt by being "it", being "tagged", being called out, or being picked last for a team.

this will keep our children "safe".

also, teach them to be "safe" when they have pre-marital sex , and that they can have an abortion if they have an unwanted pregnancy.
this makes our children "open", "free", and "individual", and are all much better alternatives than being closed minded and prudish.

lets recap...dodgeball, tag, etc. may cause hurt feelings, scrapes and bruises.

premarital sex can lead to s.t.d.'s, emotional baggage and scarring, possible decisions to kill an unborn baby, with all of the later guilt and emotional trauma to the mother, and single parent homes.

now go be safe!!!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

one remedy for terrible christian music

there were more comments than i had expected from my last post on "in christ alone", so i figured i would risk one more post about a song that impacts me each time i hear it.

"rock of ages" was written by sandra mccracken, a singer/songwriter whose talents are so under known and under appreciated, it is indeed a shame. she has been writing for many years, but gained a bit more publicity when she married former caedmon's call singer/songwriter derek webb in january of 2001.
simply stated, her music is intelligent, beautiful, sometimes hauntingly so, and always enjoyable. she has a warm voice that conveys every ounce of emotion that must have come upon initially penning the lyrics. says one secular magazine music critic:

"sandra mccracken's cloud-splitting voice
will be my undoing. and it doesn't hurt that
her writing marries the pop acumen off
lennon/mccartney to the lyrical heft of
julie miller. if i wrote down all the superlatives
i'm tempted to write down, you'd question
my credibility."
-jason killingsworth music editor,
paste magazine

i hesitate to compare her to anyone, for two reasons.

first, she is unique in her own way, and is unlike anyone else i have ever heard, although some comparisons and similarities will inevitably occur. second, i never want to present her as a watered down "christian" version of what is popular.

sandra is a christian, and a very outspoken one at that, but i hesitate to classify her as a "christian artist" because that could possibly imply many negative things. even some of my favorite musicians that are on christian labels, would never live up to the "quality standards" (whatever that means) of popular music. i don't just mean from a standpoint of talent, but also production, arrangement, originality.

the sad reality is, if religious or faith content were not an issue, secular radio would still never play 90% of what we hear on christian radio, because it is sub par when compared with popular music on secular radio. the lyrics are often cheesy and contrived, forced to rhyme, and the music is usually about three years behind whatever the current trend is. its a sad reality, but a true one.
however, that doesn't mean people don't like it and aren't affected by it.
there are hundreds of thousands of people who love christian music, and that is perfectly fine. people listen to what they enjoy. but if the mainstream d.j.'s of america's top secular stations were presented with music from some of today's top christian albums, i would almost guarantee they would never play it.

how did i get here??

the point is, sandra mccracken would not fall into this category. so, saying that, i would say that if you enjoy the music of sarah mclachlan, patty griffin, sheryl crow (the less pop variety), or emmy lou harris, you, by default, will love sandra. even if you aren't fans of the above mentioned artists ( and remember, i said sandra is not really like them, she is unique), give her music a chance.

here are the words to a song she wrote on the album "the builder and the architect" called rock of ages. read them and prepare to be pierced by the stunning honesty in her words. just reading the words is, unfortunately, to be told what colors van gogh used in "sunflowers", but to never see the painting. to fully appreciate this song, you have to hear the haunting melody sung by sandra's strong, yet vulnerable voice as it echoes over the spine tingling piano accompaniment.
even so, read on...

rock of ages, when the day seems long
from this labor and this heartache I have come
the skies will wear out but you remain the same
rock of ages, I praise your name

rock of ages, you have brought me near
you have poured out your life blood, your love, and your tears
to make this stone heart come alive again
rock of ages, forgive my sin

rock of ages, bind your children until the kingdom comes
rock of ages, your will be done

rock of ages, when in want or rest
my desperate need for such a savior I confess
and pry these idols out from my hearts embrace
rock of ages, I need your grace

rock of ages, broken, scorned for me
who am I that you would die to make me free?
to give me glory you took the death and the pain
rock of ages, my offering

rock of ages bind your children until the kingdom comes
rock of ages your will be done

rock of ages, it is done you cried
the curtains torn and I see justice satisfied
now write your mercy here on my heart and hands
rock of ages, in faith I stand

rock of ages, my great hope secure
your promise holds just like an anchor to my soul
bind your children with cords of love and grace
rock of ages, we give you praise

rock of ages bind your children until the kingdom comes
rock of ages, your will be done

for more info on sandra, visit her website here , or her myspace site, where you can listen to her music here


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

where do you stand?

i don't know why, but everytime i am somewhere and the song "in christ alone" is sung, i can't make it through the song with dry eyes. by that, i don't mean i get some kind of feel good warm fuzzies. what i do mean is, never have i known of a song that was so full of truth, and so well written, that to utter those words breaks and ignites my heart *because* they are true!

i won't diminish the power of these words (written by stewart townsend and keith getty) by trying to explain them. they speak for themselves. i encourage you to read through these few simple verses, and to maybe even say them outloud, and see what reaction your heart has.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, mystrength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heightsof love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who tookon flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save'

Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrathof God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in theground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave Herose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin'scurse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Brought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power ofChrist in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand'
Till Hereturns or calls me home
Here in the power of ChristI'll stand

amen and amen.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

we have everything when we have nothing

christi and i had a doctor visit yesterday, and in less than 7 months, (around may 25), we are going to be parents. need less to say, we are very excited and are looking forward to the coming months, as well as the coming years.
we had a miscarriage in the spring, and since that time, the lord sustained us and increased our faith in him and his care. now he has blessed us with this great news.

the lord is indeed faithful, but not because he has given us a child. he would be faithful if we were never able to have children of our own. he is faithful in that he promises to bring to himself all of his children, and to never leave them or forsake them. he is gracious in that he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. he has given us the gift of his son.

so may we never dare suggest that he has not given us everything if he doesnt give us our every want. our knowledge is limited, our desires our shortsighted, and often tainted with sin. but our lord is holy, and all knowing, and good. he gives us himself, and in him, we have everything.

we praise him for this pregnancy and pray that he will give christi a safe and trouble free pregnancy and delivery, that our child will be born whole and without complication, and grow up strong and in the lord. but we pray more that we would daily be satisfied in him, so that if all else were to fall away, we would still stand firm and proclaim that we have everything in christ.