Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Paging Dr. Fix-it

Pressure. Panic.

We all have our ways with dealing with the two, and we may get better with doing so over time, but it always seems to suck the air out of you.

The moment of breathlessness, the initial shivers, the feeling of dread.

It never wavers.

The panic begins to set, the breathing grows haphazard. You're over your head, and you know it. The wall is now looming over you, and you can't tell what to do next, the footholds are unclear.

Life seems to be in pieces, with no hint at how to put them back together.

How can you fix shattered glass? dreams?

We can only hope to someday rebuild, to go back to the place we were before.

We can only hope to fit the pieces.

Although sometimes it seems as if they won't fit.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Christian Music: Is it Dying?

I've heard a lot of people lately saying that the future of Christian music, especially Christian rock, doesn't look too bright. While I can see where people who say this may be coming from, I'm not sure that I completely agree at this point in time.

Though there aren't tons and tons of Christian artists that match up with mainstream music tastes, especially for the younger generations, there are many bands and artists who do mix well with popular music. Depending on what genre a person is into, they are likely to find Christian artists of that type too, if they are willing to look for them, though some genres are more heavily populated with Christian artists than others.

 It's taken a good deal of time, but in my opinion, groups like Switchfoot, Skillet, Hawk Nelson, and a number of others have successfully integrated their Christian music with songs played on the radio by the general population. The question that has arisen in regards to these groups is; "Have they softened their Christian message too much in order to achieve this goal? Was it worth it?"

My response to these questions would be, yes, they have had to downplay their message a little, though not completely. While that may not be the most ideal, I think that having Christian music that people who are not Christian would be willing to listen to is a good thing. 

What are your thoughts on this? Has Christian music given up too much for the sake of reaching a wider audience? If so, are the benefits worth the sacrifice?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Westboro Baptist Church

In search of something to blog about, my lovely man told me to look into Westboro Baptist Church. So, typing them into google, the first thing I see is this: http://www.godhatesfags.com/. I don't think I can begin to express how disgusted I was right then and there. Keep in mind, this is before I so much as looked at the site. Talk about a bad first impression.

My utter horror and disgust turned fairly quickly to a very deep sense of pity. While it is terrible the things they say and the things that they protest so insanely, I think the saddest part is that they truly believe they are doing the right thing. These people truly believe in a God who is full of more wrath than anything else. They truly believe that soldiers who are out defending our country deserve the death that may come to them, going so far as to protest their funerals. What kind of sick, demented people are these? On top of that, they truly believe that there is no reason to show love or tolerance to gay people. What these people are doing is NOT showing the love of God or spreading a gospel that will reach out to the hurting. As Christians, it seems that they are failing rather miserably.

In further exploration of their site, I found something that was way beyond appalling. There is a bar on the left side of the page that contains a number of little counts they have going. Among the most disgusting were "number of soldiers God has killed in Iraq and Afghanistan"and "people whom God has cast into Hell since you loaded this page." The disrespect and hate towards the people who are defending our country and following their orders both astounds and offends me. All of this is ridiculous.

It is my belief that God loves all of his creations, though he may not approve of their actions. Perhaps the Westboro people will be forgiven for their extreme misdirection, but I certainly hope that if they stand in the presence of God someday, that they will realize how wrong they were and have to own up to all of the damage and pain they caused a great number of people.

Excuse me while I go find some way to settle down. Ugh.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lack of Posting and...

Well, there's been a lack of posting today, and for that I apologize. For those who need to point fingers, you can blame school or laziness, take your pick.

Anyways, what I have been doing in all this downtime is thinking about creating a secondary blog, as many of the posts currently up (~20%) are music related posts. As this blog was intended for a more text based purpose, I have decided to create another blog in which all that garbage can be thrown into. So, those who are interested in finding some "neat" bands and such can head on over to Bands of Note. Love to see you there.

In the meanwhile, here is a funny low-budget taxidermy video that has been going viral around the internet.

Forgive me:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Portal: Apparently Free?

Quick gaming post, sorry if I throw you for a loop:

According to some sources *cough* Reddit *cough* the popular first person puzzle shooter Portal is available to install for free. This isn't the first time that this offer has been given, but it still remains to be a great one.


Simply put, Portal is one of the funniest puzzle solving games out there! Although it first came out a while ago as a surprise inclusion in Valve's Orange Box set, gamer of all ages rejoiced at the dark humor and creative design of the short game. Portal is a sweet 3 hour ride filled with sarcastic dialogue and interesting plot, as you find yourself trapped in a science laboratory and being forced to solve complex puzzles using a portal creating device. As you progress into the game prepare yourself to become further immersed in its brilliant plot, as each testing chamber brings new information and secrets about the history of Aperture Science and the sinister A.I. that now runs it. Trust me, its a game not to be missed.

So, if you have played it already, give Portal a shot. You might find yourself to be pleasantly surprised and fall in love with it as I have.

Install the game here: (requires a gaming application/client called Steam, which is used to distribute many computer games digitally. Also free to download.)

Bands of Note: Casting Crowns

Some bands just inexplicably got it right, whatever 'it' is. Somehow, they have managed to make music that is appealing in a multitude of ways. One of those bands, in my opinion, is Casting Crowns.

A band since 1999, where they served as a youth worship team, Casting Crowns has already made some major achievements and continues to make more even now. With multiple platinum albums and videos, a GRAMMY award, a number of radio hits, an American music award (2007), and a number of other honors, it is easy to see how swiftly and completely this group has swept the world of Christian music.

If you've ever heard Casting Crowns' music, you will probably agree with me that their message in their lyrics is fantastic. Since hearing "Who Am I" many years back, I have been amazed by how spot on the lyrics are to real issues of the Christian world. To me, they accurately portray the way the general Christian population has strayed from God's original plan and the need for all of us to recenter our lives on Christ and spread his love to others. From songs of encouragement and strength like "Voice of Truth" to more serious, mellow songs such as "Slow Fade", Casting Crowns presents a wonderful message in a way that is pleasing to the ear and in most cases, extremely uplifting to listen to.

Casting Crowns' newest CD, "Until the Whole World Hears" (2009) has received much praise and radio play on stations like KLOVE and AIR1, however, their older CDs still remain classics and are among the most played Christian music songs. If you haven't already, I highly suggest checking out Casting Crowns' music, as they really seem to have a good thing going.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Power of a Personal Verse

Isaiah 40:8 (NIV)
"The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever."

In my days as a Christian, I have faced a number of challenges that seemed impossible when they stood right in front of me, staring me straight in the eye. Losing friends and loved ones, accepting things that I had no control over, allowing God's plan for me to have precedence over my own plan, knowing that it was He who created me...These things are not easy for me, nor do I believe they are for any Christian. I think it is perfectly healthy to struggle sometimes with the things that God allows life to throw your way. However, eventually, as Christians, it is our job to come to terms with God's design, even if at that moment it doesn't seem to make sense.

When I am dealing with a situation that I don't understand or feel that I can't possibly get through on my own, the verse I posted here comes to mind. This is perhaps my favorite verse, if only because it strengthens my faith and my resolve in my moments of weakness. Being reminded that the God of the universe is my ally, I know that I have nothing to fear and, as my parents often say, "this too shall pass."

Isaiah 40:8, which I like to think of as "my verse" may not have the same empowering feel for you as it does for me, but I think that we all have some verse that we relate to and call on when we need it. If you haven't found one of your own or if you simply want to add another to the list, I hope that this will come to mind.