Jul 31, 2006

Am I angry enough? Are WE angry enough?

One small thing I want to address first...JP, you have my prayers. I hope he has a speedy and smooth recovery from the accident, and that through this whole process a valuable lesson will be learned. Heal, man. Sit back and watch some Simpsons and heal.

Now on to to true purpose of this blog...

You all know I work at a radio station, primarily dubbing old reel to reel tapes of sermons and lectures from the seminary and church. Boring stuff, I always have my own headphones handy, because really, who wants to listen to some theologian from the 70's prattle on about something theological that is half based on Biblical proof and half based on what he wants the Bible to say. A prime example of this is popular culture, music, and end times theories. No, Russia is not the Anti-Christ...get yourselfs up to speed.

Anyways, I don't actively listen, but at times little thoughts and sentences come to me from the speakers. I have no clue who said it, what the context was, or even when it was said. But a thought stuck with me...which I will try my best to remember and paraphrase:

"How mad are you about today's youth? How mad are you at how they are slowly turning from God and becoming like they are? How mad are you at how people have corrupted this generation, teaching them to hate their parents and despise each other, and just fend for themselves?

"How mad are you to do something about it?"

That's a powerful thought. And it's been coming back to me over and over again. And yet, I'm going to turn it on it's head.

How mad am I at how today's youth are turning from God...who are already Christians and in church? The answer, surprisingly, is for the most part, very mad.

I've lost track of the number of my peers who have rejected God. I'm sure it's just coincidence that most of these people came from highly judgemental and legalistic backgrouds. And yet, it's like there are two major paths my generation, coming from a Christian background, tends to walk. One- they accept the indoctrination (negative), or God in general (positive), completely. Or two- they turn their back on God and church and the Christian life completely. (negative, of course)

The stories I've heard are heartbreaking...

A leader in the youth group growing up goes to college, meets a man, has a baby, and runs crying to their parents for support.

Another girl spends her time jumping from boyfriend to boyfriend, constantly looking to herself, struggling to find any meaning in her life beyond the next fun attraction who will help pay her bills.

A guy graduates from college, starts experiencing the party lifestyle, hooks onto drugs, near impregnates his girlfriend, and contemplates suicide.

Then there are the people who actually do commit suicide. I am related to at least two of them, that I know of. Suicide and abortion are probably the two most touchiest subjects I know, and I am familiar with people who have gone through or known someone who has experienced them.

So what am I trying to say here? I don't think I'm saying that I need to become a youth pastor or anything. I have my doubts about many people who claim that they are destined for the ministry in one form or another. I am always curious how they just know "God is calling them" to such and such.

But...am I mad at what is becoming of Christians my own age...and people my own age in general?

Emphatically, expletively...YES.

And it all grates on me, and I feel powerless to do anything about it.

Jul 27, 2006

For Audra/JP and Amber/Pete and others expecting

Been meaning to post this for a while, and since I got some down time, no surprise, at the radio station, thought I'd share it.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Yes, my humor is..."different"...

Jul 26, 2006

Some quick quotes

"Humor is a prelude to faith, and laughter is the beginning of prayer." - Reinhold Niebuhr

"If humor without faith is in danger of dissolving into cynicism and despair, faith without humor is in danger of turning in arrogance and intolerance." - Conrad Hyers

Jul 16, 2006

Fox 9 News: Bringing You the "Summer Rain"

I have to give props out to Fox9 News tonight. During their 9 pm slot, they showed a brief clip of various rain and water images following a story on the fires at the Boundary Waters.

During the clip, they played the U2 song "Summer Rain." Now, this isn't a regular U2 song; this was a B-side on the single for "Beautiful Day." It's never been played live, never shown up on an album (except the limited edition U2:7 available at Target), so obviously a true U2 fan got to choose the music for that clip tonight.

...The other local affiliates are going to have to step it up now...

Jul 11, 2006

Sanitized movies is a violation of copyright law!!


I consider this great news. It has always annoyed me that people are willing to just cut out any "objectionable" material in a movie or book. Reminds me of a girl I knew back in junior high who would cut out whole portions of her Bible because she didn't like them.

This reminds me of those annoying commercials you see in theatres or on dvd. "You wouldn't steal a car...You shouldn't steal a movie!" Now it's "You wouldn't cut out the Mona Lisa's smile...You shouldn't sanitize a movie!"

Word of advice- if you find something objectionable, choose not to see or rent that movie! But don't start santizing movies so that you can enjoy them better...movies such as Saving Private Ryan or Shindler's List wouldn't be as good or as historically accurate if you cut out the blood or profanity!

Jul 10, 2006

Speed Running

As most of you know, I enjoy videogames. I don't sit and play them all the time, I don't give up sleep or social interaction for them, I don't have a Level 40 War Dwarf or whatever in an online game, and in fact I've never played any online games (No Everquest, Ever!), and I don't any game memorized except for Tetris.

Yet I still play them and enjoy them, primarily because I grew up playing them. Bought a Gameboy with my own money waaaaay back in the late 80's, played it to death for years until it finally broke, and eventually bought my next videogame system, a Nintendo 64, in 98/99 (bought it used from a friend for only one game...The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time).

I'm sure I could devote a whole blog toward videogaming...pros and cons...the Christian argument...health issues, etc. However, I wish to bring to your attention something eles at this time.


SpeedDemosArchive is a site that hosts speed runs of videogames. A speed run is where someone tries to play through a game as quickly or as correctly as they can.

Good examples of this would be someone beating the original Super Mario Bros. game in 5 minutes; the original Legend of Zelda game in 33 minutes; getting a 100% completion rating in Metroid in under 20 minutes; beating a certain race in a racing game in the fastest time possible; etc etc.

If you have ever played a videogame, either recently or way back when your were a child (aka, younger), you should go check this site out. Look up the list of games, see if one that you remember playing is there, then find out what special thing someone did with the game. The videos are all easily downloadable and enjoyable.

Recommended vids from me include: that first Super Mario Bros run, the Mario 3 run, the Goldeneye run, and the Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time run (because it's one of my favorite games from recent years, and you can experience the whole game in about 2 and a half hours).


EDIT- No matter what I do, I can't get hyperlinks in blogs...and I can't even edit those "links" things to the side of the blogs! Grr...

Jul 6, 2006

On U2, Christian music, and I

From a Christian music conference U2 attended in 1981...

"I would like to think that in U2, we are a very aggressive band, we are an emotional band, we are a live band. I think that's good, I think it's good in the Lord, because...John the Baptist and Jeremiah were very loud and quite aggressive, and yet glory-full," Bono says. "I think we have a love, an emotion, without the sort of flowers in our hair. And I think we have this sort of aggression without the safety pins in our noses."

Bono mentions Isaiah 40:3 -- "this is the Scripture that the Lord has basically shown us with regards to the band" -- and then reads it to the audience: "A voice is calling, 'Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain.'"

Isaiah 40:3 is a verse of instruction for Bono, he says, and for the band's future. "I see our position as Christians as to make way, make straight a path for the Lord for a second time. In that sense we have to make the rough smooth and get involved in making the rough smooth. But before the Lord can use the band...He has to sort of make our rough ends smooth and that's what the Lord had to do," Bono says.

Bono explains on the CD that some musicians are gifted to make praise songs to God and others are gifted to make music about God for reaching out to others.

"It is very important that people don't see themselves as outreach in the music world if they are playing the Christian circuit," Bono says. "What we've got to do in the music business is destroy the image that has got through...which has [given] God almighty and Jesus Christ...an image of a weakling. A slightly effeminate image. A sort of Sunday image. A religious image. This is not the case...this is something we're trying in U2 to do something about."

About 100 people were at the retreat and heard presentations from other musicians during the day, Mellor said. But it was Bono's talk that Mellor thinks is worth releasing now.

"Bono's incredible energy and passion communicated to the seminar delegates. A number of us had a real excitement in our spirit," Mellor said. He wants a new generation of Christian musicians to capture the excitement felt in the 1981 audience.

"I now feel that the time is right for the CD to be listened to by Christians for its sheer inspirational value," Mellor said. "I feel that what they had to say in 1981 is as fresh and relevant now as it was then."

Original source material-



Amazing stuff.

A long time ago, I was bitten by the "music bug," as it were. Going to church before my teenage years, the only part of the service I enjoyed was the music/worship part. I learned many hymns during this time, and to this day I still like hymns to a certain extent. At home, I was subjected to the musical rhymes of The Beatles and other classic "oldies" groups. I saw nothing at all wrong with either group of music.

My musical desire only intensified when I was introduced to U2, and eventually the current "secular" musical landscape: rap, hiphop, rock, hard rock, soft rock, arena rock, alternative rock, jazz, etc. I distinctively remember the first few times I saw or hung out with a local band of musicians; in this case, it was the quasi-hard rock act Fastest Turbo Fire Engines.

I was introduced to FTFE by their then bass player, Mike. Mike and I worked together at Davanni's and developed a friendship. One day he invited me to come with him and the band to a gig and "tech" for them, aka carry and help set up equipment, since I couldn't tune an instrument or anything. It was my first experience seeing a live rock band in a small setting.

And I was blown away, and I still am...by them, U2, and other local and national acts. There is just something about music that is incredibly compelling. I love live music. Even if the person playing was my best friend, I would probably just sit there and stare at the guitar, bass, or drumset that they are using, and watch them go. I am sucked in to it in a way that is hard to explain.

There is this huge desire in me to work, somehow, in the music industry. I don't have to be the lead singer or backup, I don't have to play an instrument, or even be a manager; I just want to be there, in some way, helping and experiencing.

One of the ways I've considered accomplishing this is by learning how to run a soundboard. Right now, I know a lot, but not enough. My brother wants me to come and run the soundboard for some praise and worship band that he knows one of the players for. I know I'm probably not gonna get paid at all for doing this, but frankly I don't care. I just want to do it for the love of it.

Bono's comments from back in '81 put some of my thoughts into focus. Christianity and I have a hard time getting along, especially when it comes to the CCM music scene. Frankly, most of the Christian music being written today is utter crap. I have no problem working in the so-called "secular" music industry. Being a person of Christian faith in that type of environment would work wonders for the Lord and for others. Salt is not as salty when it is surrounded by salt. Salt works best on it's own where it's been placed by the person who used it.

So I'm still trying to figure life out. This blog seems to be focused mainly on music and on school/jobs. Recently I've been feeling more and more a leaning toward an audio education, as opposed to a literary or English one.

I am a good writer. I know this. And yet I am not able to just sit down and write a story, go out and find a lead, or do any reporting. Partly due to laziness, partly due to my own lack of ability. Writing is something I'm good at.

But music and audio is what I love and want to do.

Is the decision really that simple?

In the meantime, I'm still relatively unemployed, and need a job and income desperately. So...pray that God either A- provides my needs, B- gets me a job so I can pay for things, C- sends me to school this fall, or D- gets me a really good job in audio/music that also pays good enough to pay for insurance/stuff and more schooling.

I pick D. Let's see what God does...

Jul 3, 2006

I demand more Honor!!

It's a weird feeling you get when you finish a book. It's hard to describe, but it depends a lot on the type of book.

A few hours ago I just finished the 700 page novel "Echoes of Honor" by David Weber. This book took me literally months to read. I started it back in the school year, brought it along with me to Colorado, where I was about 200 pages into it, and then read about 300-400 pages just the last weekend.

It's tough when a book doesn't grab you. You want to read it, especially cause there is so much else you need to read too, so you just want to get this first book done with. But if the book doesn't grab you, you won't choose to read it over doing pretty much anything else.

But when things get moving past whatever slow dialogue or bad pacing exists (a good example is the Council of Elrond scene in "Fellowship of the Ring"), you get hooked. The small problem I had with "Echoes of Honor" was that they'd focus on the hero, Honor Harrington, for a few chapters, then jump around to another group of people, The Peeps (bad guys), and focus on them, then jump to the other good guys (RMN), and then finally back to Honor. I had a tough time reading through the Peep stuff because I wanted more Honor! And yet when you get hooked, you plow through and realize just how important each part of the book is.

David Weber's Honor Harrington series has been a mainstay for me for a while, although they are getting steadily tougher to read. I discovered the series I believe during the summer before my senior year of high school (first book, "Honor Harrington at Basilisk Station"); some of my classmates might remember me bringing one of the books on senior trip. I remember getting some weird looks from people because I was reading a book with a woman on the cover who was holding a pistol.

Essentially, the series is Tom Clancy in outer space. Basically, it follows the military career of the young woman Honor Harrington, dealing with her trials and tests as well as ongoing political issues and war between the Manticoran Star nation and the People's Republic (bad guys). And this is no heroine who escapes unscathed at the end of the book! So far in the series, she's been nearly raped (although chronologically, it took place before the first book), had her boyfriend/fiance brutally murdered, has been shot multiple times, got her arm blown off, lost half of her face when she got shot at close range, been the pawn of a politican and set up for a fall, and most recently been captured and beaten by her enemies and sent to the worse prison camp in the universe.

It's nice to have a hero who gets abused as well as gives abuse. Makes it more realistic.

I've finished seven books in the series (out of I believe 10 published so far), and while I need to take a break before reading another book that is just so long, the way the "Echoes of Honor" ended, I need to read at least the first few chapters of the next book, "Ashes of Victory." But no more! I need a break from long war novels.

Last week in one sitting I read through "Blue Like Jazz." I found it amusing that it had been waiting for me in my room when I got back from Colorado, because a number of people had been reading and commenting on it. It's a great book I discovered. Lots of little bits of wisdom (and fluff) for a Christian.

I'm in a little bit of debate as to what book I should read through next. Before the last Star Wars movie came out, I was trying to read all the books that bridged the gap, The Clone Wars, between Episodes 2 and 3. Well, school got in the way. I have the next book I need to read, but it doesn't even deal directly with Anakin or Obi-Wan or anyone else of any importance. I know I need to read it, but part of me doesn't want to.

There are a few other Star Wars novels I've been putting off reading. I could always pick up one of those, especially if it's a single book and not part of a series or trilogy. Or I could read something that's not sci-fi at all. Maybe another Anne Rice novel or an Enders novel; could also read the next Anita Blake book. I have options.

Reading is good and helps me, but it's hard to focus solely on reading when video games, dvds, tv, movies, and literally any other form of entertainment calls to you also. Discipline I guess.

And on a side note- until I read it in The Message, I had no clue what the book of Acts was really about, besides that it was boring and full of history. Thank God for Eugene Petterson and The Message; without it, most of the Bible would still remain boring dry literature to me. Now, I actually a clue what the early church and Paul went through.

Yet am I really reading the Bible, or is it just Peterson's understanding of the Bible?