Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Church Music

So David Crowder Band dropped their new album, "Church Music," yesterday.

I tried not to keep my expectations too high. Their 3rd full length studio album, "A Collision (or 3+4=7)" was one of the greatest albums I've ever heard. It was a narrative from beginning to end. The songs flowed into eachother. It told a story. It blew me away the first time I heard it. The lyrics, as with their two previous studio albums, were creative, interesting, introspective, and captivating. Its one of my favorite CD's I own.

Then, two years ago, they put out "Remedy." "Remedy" was not intended to be what "A Collision" was. The band said that "Remedy" was full of simple songs for the church. In other words, these were songs that were meant to be sung. I like it a lot, but it wasn't what "A Collision" was.

So I told Brittany I'd tried not to be let down with this new album.

I've listened to it in its entirety several times now. Thus far, I'd say its good. Its not great. But its good.

Its very electronic. Its a departure from their past albums where synths/beats have blended with guitars/drums. On this album, the programming certainly takes the lead musically. I heard Crowder say that its ironic they called it "Church Music" because it sounds nothing like what most people would call church music. Nonetheless, I like the sound overall. They mix some ripping guitar solos into several of the songs.

But the lyrics are the disappointment. I can't really pick up on an over-arching theme. There are some recurring themes, don't get me wrong--I just thought it'd tell more of a story. And it doesn't. Then too, the lyrics aren't what I've come to expect from DC*B. They aren't as creative and inspiring as they have been in the past. Musically, they've pushed the envelope. I can appreciate that. But what moves me are the lyrics that bounce around inside my chest. I didn't get that on the CD.

Maybe I need to listen more. Maybe I need to give it more time. Perhaps I'll update you all on this later. Its still worth getting. Its a good album. It just didn't meet the high expectations I have for one of my favorite bands.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh, Hell.

So this is very tongue-in-cheek, but I laughed at it:

Hell is an interesting concept. I've talked about it plenty in the past. But I think I'm finally just to a place where I'm comfortable saying certain things. For instance, I'm comfortable saying that I think most people's ideas about hell aren't shaped by a full Biblical account. I'm also comfortable with saying that if Paul never mentioned "hell" in any of his New Testament letters, then that's probably something worth noting in the discussion on the afterlife.

But one thing I've just grown comfortable with saying is that I think the concept of a real, physical Hell where humans beings are tortured forever by God for rejecting a belief system that involves the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is absolutely ridiculous.

You see, if Hell is a location in the afterlife, then God put it there. If God created Hell, then he, in effect, is the one torturing humans for all eternity. If God is the one torturing humans for all eternity, then I don't think that says much about his loving nature.

I've always talked openly about my belief in some sort of a line of accountability after death. In other words, I believe that humanity doesn't all end up in the same place. I don't know what that line of accountability looks like exactly--I'll leave that to God. However, I do think some people will choose an existence outside of the presence of God. I've also talked openly about being an annihilationist and, therefore, believing in conditional immortality. But even if I didn't believe those things, the concept of God torturing humans in Hell for eternity seems inane. It makes no sense. And I certainly don't think the concept has much Biblical backing. It might have some backing in Dante, but not in the New Testament.

(I've only grown comfortable saying that as of late. Perhaps its because of my attendance to very fundamental Christian churches early on and ignorant adherence to the doctrines being taught there. Questioning and rethinking so many things that you were taught as basics or foundational components of your faith system can be overwhelming and difficult at times. Necessary, yes. But difficult still.)

I guess I'm finding myself more and more surprised when people (particularly those who would call themselves followers of Jesus) hold on to this concept as an integral part of their belief system. It seems odd that other Christians would question my theology when I don't cling to a belief system that includes a God who creates a space called Hell and tortures humans for all eternity in that space.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Momma always said...

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

That's good advice. Advice I should have adhered to more often in life. But the thing is: I can't hold it in all the time. I've just got to speak my mind sometimes. Some things just need to be said. I've got to get some things of my chest. At times, I can be quite critical. I'm well aware of that. But I try to make a point of admitting my own tendencies to ere and my participation in the problem. When I'm critical of the Church or America, I'm willing to admit that I've only aided in things becoming so screwed up.

Yet, people have a hard time with some of the things I say. And oftentimes, reactions can be quite strong. But lately I've made an effort to stay away from controversial topics. Its not worth the hassle when life is busy to have to deal with lots of angry comments or straw man arguments.

So I've held back a little as of late. On purpose. For my own sanity. For the sanity of my wife. And because I haven't had the time to write long posts.

But I have some things to say. Things I've held back, but need to let out. Some won't be perceived as "nice." And that's okay. But, like I said earlier, sometimes you just gotta say it--regardless of its reception by others.

So this is a long teaser post. Sorry, Sheffield. I know you'll boo me or whine about this. But I'm writing this just to give everyone a little warning. I'll try to write several posts this week. I don't know all the topics. One will be about the Church and money (in light of the holidays approaching). One will have to be about Brand New's album "Daisy" and David Crowder Band's album "Church Music"--both of which will release on Tuesday, the 22nd. One will probably deal with health care reform and the misinformation being spewed by so many people and media outlets. And who knows what else.

This is just a little forewarning.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Next week...

My kind of guy...

This guy was photographed walking through the anti-healthcare reform demonstration last Friday in Washington DC. I read that people spit on him, yelled words like "Commie" at him, and tried to take his sign. Eventually police had to intervene, but he supposedly kept smiling the whole time.

I like him and I've never met him.

UPDATE: I found video! Awesome. (HT: Digg)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm doing pretty hood in my pink polo.

I like Kanye. His music is incredible. His production skills are off the chart. But stuff like this is what perpetuates most people's opinion that he's a completely self-absorbed ass:

Chamon Kanye. Taylor Swift is about as bubble gum and made up as you can get, but she still doesn't deserve that. Dude just can't stay in his seat or keep his mouth shut.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Perhaps hell froze over...

I joined a Fantasy Football league.

I've researched players. I've researched performance over the past few seasons. I did a pre-draft plan. I've been watching... (wait for it)... ESPN. I may even watch more than 2 games this season.

So I'll admit it: my participation in a fantasy football league has caused a surge in my desire to watch NFL games. And I'm excited to see how my team does. More importantly, I'm excited about crushing Jason Brown's team.

I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

AHHHH!!! Obama Zombies!!!

Is this what they were afraid of?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Letters to the Editor...

This is probably the last "letter to the editor" I'll write on the issue of health care reform. It was published today in the BG Daily News. I've started receiving negative emails and don't wanna deal with that headache. Anyway, I hope I communicated my point in a reasonable manner.

"Let’s have a calm discussion on health care
Thursday, September 3, 2009 11:33 AM CDT

This letter is in reply to Mr. Frank St. Charles and his letter Thursday, “Health care plan is simply not a good idea.”

The government is not seeking to control the health care system. The government is seeking to reform the health care system and to provide health care to all Americans - millions of whom cannot currently afford it. Even if the government decides to provide a public option within the bill, it will in no way force you to change anything about your current coverage unless you desire to make such a change.

We are already being abused by insurance, health care and pharmaceutical companies. Their methods, marketing and lobbying are steadily affecting all of us. Are you seriously proposing that we aren’t already victims of “incompetency and excess” within the current system?

I’m not saying that I think a government-run health care system is the best option. Privatized health care sounds like the best option - I agree. But privatized health care has shown that it only seeks to make more money for its executives and not provide the best health care for all citizens. If the government needs to step in, then so be it.

The system needs to be reformed. I’m not saying I have all the answers - I’m simply encouraging everyone to approach this from a calm and rational perspective.

I’m assuming you have an adequate insurance plan and the financial resources to pay for medical treatment and prescription drugs. But what about those who don’t?

John David Ryan"