Tag: Contemporary Christian Music

MIND-BURP MONTHLY… Issue 1

 

GOOD-BYE FREEDOM, HELLO FREEDOM, (PART 2)

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Revolting against taxation without representation, against brutal control from afar, and against a lack of freedom in general, founding fathers of the United States made such statements as this one:

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

― Patrick Henry

http://www.history.org/almanack/life/politics/giveme.cfm

Now, just a few generations later, Americans slouch on the couch as their tax burden continues to climb (remember that one supreme-court justice swung the court’s power behind Obamacare by calling it a “tax” *). Their representatives,  busily spending their taxes, are increasingly distant and out of touch. They are numbered, filed, scrutinized and directed from before birth to after death, as their phone calls, emails, texts (and blog posts) are recorded and scanned. Thousands more laws are created annually. Americans get deeper and deeper into national debt, spending money that even their grand-children haven’t  begun to work hard for yet (17 trillion dollars and rising) and deeper and deeper into personal debt, while only a few are aware or caring of the fact that:

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).

Socialism is not the answer to this problem, because in it you will still have a ruling elite who take your money and your freedom to line their own nests, while preventing you from prospering.

In a land which once prided itself on freedom of speech, voices are increasingly silenced by political correctness.

Patrick Henry and his contemporaries would be horrified to see the results of their blood sweat and tears. A modern version of Henry’s statement may go something like this:

“Give me liberty or give me at least two hundred channels”.

*SEE http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/06/28/supreme-court-upholds-individual-mandate-obamacare-survives/

SOCIETY OF TODAY

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I rarely like songs – I prefer instrumentals – and this song isn’t exactly on the cutting edge of newness. But it’s refreshingly relevant and really hits a spot with me:

(EVO-LUTION “Society of Today”- KL Dark Recordings)

CHRISLAM OR CHRIS-SPAM?

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Every way you look, humanity is searching for lowest common denominators, and this is no exception. “Chrislam” is a present-day attempt to merge Christianity with Islam, or at least to find common ground and bring the two together in harmony.

Islam holds that the Trinity is a blasphemous heresy, and that Jesus Christ was a prophet only.  In direct contrast the Bible, written long before the Koran, states very clearly that

“No one who denies the Son has the Father” (1 John 2:23).

It tells us that Jesus, the Christ, the “Messiah”, called himself the “I AM”, a title only God can ascribe to himself (Exodus 3:13-14). Jesus said:

“I tell you the truth…before Abraham was born, I am!”(John 8:58)

Jesus was crucified because of his claim: the unbelieving Jews had Jesus killed because he made himself equal with God:

“Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’

‘We are not stoning you for any of these…but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God’” (John 10 31-32).

“Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied…

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses?”

“He is worthy of death,” they answered (Matthew 26:63-68).

Further than that, Jesus said:

“…if  you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:24).

Only the Son of God can pay the price of sin. The deity of Christ is not something you can toss away to suit your agenda.

And if you throw away the Bible’s testimony, you’re wandering into the territory of creating your own religion or cult…of creating God in your or someone else’s image. But don’t tack the name of “Christ” onto it in an attempt to buy respectability. You can’t join the gospel of Christ and the beliefs of Islam without denying both.

COME ON DOWN, PLANET X!

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Some alternative thinkers out there somewhere believe that there’s a huge, unwelcome and unseen member of our solar system, nick-named Planet X. It’s a brown dwarf – ignored, denied and hushed up by the government and NASA. Planet X, they say, is on a near-collision course with earth. In the next year or so, say its followers,  it will pass by us so close as to cause enormous tsunamis, earth-quakes etc., devastating the population of our frail little home. The ruling and super-rich elite are in the know, and busily building shelters for their own survival (I can believe that part).

Well, after looking around at the world of men my view of Planet X is this: let it do its work-it’s time to start over anyway!

BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO OLD HYMNS?

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Am I the only one to feel this way about hymns, or are they really being hijacked and then brutally abused? After declaring hymns to be out of date, out of touch and boring, the “Contemporary” Christian music industry digs them up, sticks a rhythm onto them- usually half-timing them (i.e. slower) –  and gets a handsome guy or a cute gal to sing them with enough melodramatic huff and puff to pop (excuse the pun) a weather balloon .

At Christmas time it’s now almost impossible to sing a rousing carol without watching some wanna-be pop star watching you back and wondering why you aren’t wiggling to the beat.

Please, if you can’t revere the song and its inspiration write your own, don’t cash in on someone else’s!

COME BACK SMAUG-ALL IS FORGIVEN!

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I wonder how many pet lizards have been named “Smaug” in recent months? My son’s Smaug, a bearded dragon, hasn’t yet learned how to breathe fire-unfortunately. I say “unfortunately” because it’s been so cold here a few fire-breathing dragons would be most welcome. Whatever happened to global warming?

There’s been a record increase in the polar ice cap:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/10294082/Global-warming-No-actually-were-cooling-claim-scientists.html

Icebreakers have been getting stuck:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/icebreakers-fail-to-free-russian-research-ship-stuck-in-the-antarctic-9028604.html

“Antarctica sets low temperature record”

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/12/10/antarctica-sets-low-temperature-record-1358-degrees/

“The Coldest Jan. 7 Ever: 15 Record Low Temperatures Set By The Polar Vortex”

http://www.ibtimes.com/coldest-jan-7-ever-15-record-low-temperatures-set-polar-vortex-1531012

Not to worry-I’m sure dear Mr. Gore and his pals in the Whitehouse are keeping toasty warm anyway, as they plan more taxes and laws to impose upon us in order to “combat climate change”, and as they BLAME THE ARCTIC FREEZE ON GLOBAL WARMING!

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/08/white-house-global-warming-probably-responsible-for-polar-vortex-record-low-temperatures-across-u-s/

Ohh! Of course! It’s been so cold because it’s getting warmer! Why didn’t I think of that?

DEAR GOD, WHY DID YOU MAKE?

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(this post is a continuation of the previous one, titled “Throwing paint for the glory of God”)

DEAR GOD, WHY DID YOU MAKE?

Dear God, why did you have to make

A thing to look like that?

It seems as though you took some paint

And threw it with a splat

Why did you form the toad, the worm,

They aren’t the least bit pretty

You should have made them all look like

A cuddly little kitty

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The North Pole was a huge mistake

Why can’t you get it right?

You really ought to know that

There is more to life than white

I’ll bet that when you stretched the sky

You mocked us with your jape

Just miles of empty, boring space

And clouds all nothing-shape

Why make the mountains quite so high

When they are only girt

With plain old white stuff on the top-

And under, rocks and dirt?

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And what on earth can be the good

Of forest, and the jungle?

It’s clear to me you dumped the leaves

And wood into a jumble

The desert is a pointless thing

It’s hot and such a bore

Just looking at its emptiness

Is nothing but a chore

What were you thinking when you made

That vast expanse of sea?

Just why it’s all so wet and blue is

Leagues away from me

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No noises you created can

Express a song or hymn

Your birds all twitter out of tune

And water makes a din

So all in all dear God I think

I’ll grade you (and please muse it)

By giving “C” for Tech, but only

“F” for Art and Music

© Nick Fisher, October 18th 2013, including poem and pictures.

THROWING PAINT FOR THE GLORY OF GOD

Family Portrait by Me
Family Portrait by Me

This is a continuation of a pseudo- series of mine which I could almost title “The Top Ten Things Christian Ministers Say Which I Disagree With”. The list may have to be expanded to twenty, or fifty, or five hundred. Not that I’m anti-minister, or anti Church: I’m not at all. Many ministers are doing a fantastic job, and I do believe that the true Church is the eternal bride of Christ. But there are just some things that ministers, authors and radio and TV celebrities say which should go unanswered no longer.

I’ve heard this one too many times, and it always gets my back up:

“People just throw paint onto a canvas and call it art.”

This criticism is always in reference to “modern art” which in the eyes of the Christian critic is anything deemed by his own range of tastes to be un-artistic and un-godly. That is, it’s not a virtual photographic reproduction of a mountain scene, a bunch of flowers, or Christ on the cross.

Once again, in such a sweeping, crass generalization, all Christians are painted (excuse the pun) with the same brush-that is, we’re all  lumped in and made to look like we have no imagination or semblance of individuality. Christianity is once again included with the likes of the Nazis in Germany, who destroyed a huge number of important works of art across Europe because they were considered to be “un-artistic”, or unpatriotic, or in opposition to true Aryan manhood. We’re all expected to have an appetite for the mundane, the expected, the predictable, the clichéd…the boring.

Contemporary art is now sometimes referred to as being “post-modern”. So what? We’re talking about pictures, not issues which affect salvation. Throwing paint onto a canvas is not going to make me deny my faith in Jesus, neither is it going to allow demons to inhabit me.

Where in the Bible are we told that a picture has to look like anything at all? Who says that a picture has to look like anything familiar to us? Isn’t the important thing, Biblically speaking, our attitude and our motives? Where in the Bible is our imagination-a God-given power and blessing- controlled or tempered apart from motive and the need for godliness?

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV).

So, if I want to “throw paint onto a canvas and call it art”, and do it for the glory of God, what’s it to you, Mr. Boring?

The phrase in question here (throwing paint etc.) is itself a cliché. So, to fight fire with fire (and to mix my metaphors), I will use a cliché of my own liking, and say that some of us actually want to think “outside of the box”, because we get tired of all those squares. Oh Lord…deliver us from the thought police!

I will agree that all that is called art is certainly not worthy of time or consideration or respect. But art pioneers are the ones who sometimes create things which are considered at the time to be a mockery of art, or even destructive. Such was the attitude of many towards the early Impressionists, who, rather than trying to create a photographic reproduction of a bunch of flowers, wanted to capture something else in their work: light, time, movement…reality. Now you can see the influence of their imagination even in many churches, because the style has so permeated the “normal” view of art in our present world. They enriched our lives, because they refused to bow to the small, narrow-minded criticism and mockery of those around them who had no imagination and no desire to have it.

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The same principle applies to music. If there is any experimentation at all in Christian music, it’s never allowed to reach the ears of those of us who would like to hear it. It’s strangled at the source because it doesn’t fit the mold. The Christian world is today allowing into its consciousness some of the sounds and rhythms and styles that the secular world created thirty years ago, and actually has the nerve to consider itself to be “contemporary”, while the secular world has already moved on ahead.  Modernity is not synonymous with evil: its God who gave man the power to be creative-not Satan. Although I will agree that the devil and his kingdom makes use of it, that’s no reason or excuse to abandon it.

So if you can’t understand it or appreciate it, why shouldn’t I? Why should I be limited by your imagination? I’ll tell you now-I refuse to be!

Please please give me something fresh, something creative, something new, something thought-provoking, something which compliments, feeds and fully employs my God-given appetite for all that is possible, and not just what satisfies the accepted norms and what Mr. Boring has for me.

THANK THE LORD FOR SECULAR MUSIC!

THANK THE LORD FOR SECULAR MUSIC!

If it were not for secular music, discerning music lovers would be condemned to a lifetime (but not an eternity- HALLELUJAH) of being told by a small ruling elite what “good music” has to sound like.

If you can just stray a little from the usual sources, you’ll find that the secular world produces an amazing variety of musical styles and genres, and is perpetually experimenting and pushing the boundaries.  Meanwhile the Christian world, I’m sorry to have to say, is trapped in a couple of little boxes, one of which is called “contemporary Christian music”. LORD DELIVER US!

Twenty to thirty years after a genre is created, the Christian world catches on, and then declares to itself that it is thoroughly modern. The secular world, if it notices at all, yawns and continues to go on ahead.

It hasn’t always been that way, of course. Men like Bach and some of the hymn writers of the past were pioneers, and glorified God greatly by stretching the imagination that the Lord had given them just as far as they could. God wants us to be creative! Us humans only use a small percentage of our brain capacity; its there for a reason. God didn’t make all cats or all dogs or even all cats and dogs: He made jellyfish, elephants, snails, octopi, eagles, spiders, peacocks, dinosaurs…and what an amazing variety of colors, habitats and characteristics!

It’s not just the genres which are lacking in Christian music: it’s the passion. Being a bass player myself, I recently watched John Patitucci, one of the world’s greatest bass players, with Chick Corea. His hands, fingers and arms twanged, slapped, thumped, glided and twiddled on the fingerboard, the result of which was an astounding display of passion and sound emanating from a mighty brain and talent – God given (whether he sees it that way or not). In contrast, as I sat and watched a Christian band one Sunday morning, I saw the bass player barely touching the strings, for fear of making a noise which might be noticed, or the wrong kind of noise, It was the ultimate compression, and after all, the “experts” in the sound booth and church leadership know that the bass should be seen and not heard, or else it should just be a woolly soft noise in the background.

What does the Bible have to say about passion in music?

 “Praise the Lord form the earth, you great sea creatures and all the ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding…” (Psalm 148).

 “Praise God in his sanctuary;

Praise him in his mighty heavens,

Praise him for his acts of power;

Praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

Praise him with the harp and lyre,

Praise him with the tambourine and dancing,

praise him with the strings and flute,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,

Praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

(Psalm 150).