Thursday, March 28, 2013

Change Changing Things

Man, things are rapidly progressing in my life right now. When I was 16, I thought starting a college class was tough enough. When I was 17 I thought driving was tough enough. When I was 18 (which, I still am) I thought being an official college student was tough enough. I also thought starting a job was tough enough. And now I'm almost 19 and I am about to move out and be on my own in a week.

I dunno how tough that will be, but I know how it feels now.

I've always lived in a big family, was home-schooled, and grew up spending most of my days with my brothers. Now there are 2 new members in our family, one that's 2 years old and one that's 1. I've been gone a whole lot this semester, usually everyday except Sunday. I know that it's hard to say goodbye to my little siblings even though I know I'll be home later. But soon, I'll be away for a long time, and they won't see me coming home in the evenings anymore. I'm used to being away a lot, but not gone.

Oh, I'll visit home on weekends, and be in communication, but still, I need guidance, and what better thing to do than to turn to God in all of this?

It did bring some comfort to know that tears,  homesickness, and "wanting my mommy" were perfectly normal for the first few weeks of moving out, so at least I know that in advance. It's almost scary even, but I do know that it's time for me to leave.

All this change is overwhelming, but it's also exciting, and I can't wait for it to happen. All these emotions are making me a bit crazy, but I know God has been keeping me strong through all of it.

So if you are like me right now and are scared, stressed, worried, excited, happy, and/or sad to be doing something life-changing, I'm with you there. But God understands it all. Don't hesitate to give Him a call. He's all you'll need no matter what happens. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In Defense of Christian Music Part 2

Alright, I caused a stir with this post! I got people to react, people to agree with me, people to disagree, and lots of discussion on specific/possible issues. How awesome!

Now, this post is simply to clear up/answer any question that many people have from this. I have noticed some recurring things in response to my post, and I'm going to now state them in a FAQ format!

Q: What do you think about Christian music?

A: Well, like with any genre, it depends on the artist, the song, and whether or not I like what I hear or not!

Q: So, you side with Christian music? Does this mean you are "Pro-Christian Music"?

A: No, I am definitely NOT "Pro-Christian Music", and no I don't necessarily "side" with it, either. In case you missed it, I wrote in one of my first paragraphs that "yeah, I am not too crazy about [Christian music] myself". There is no black and white to this. Next...

Q: Then why are you so defensive of it?

A: Perhaps my post was incorrectly named... What it SHOULD have been called was "In Defense of People Whom I Love Dearly, Do Not Know, and Never Will Know Who Like Christian Music." or "BadCatholic Incorrectly Wrote a Post so Now I'm About to Point Out What's Wrong With It". I was mostly sticking up for those who really do love Christian music. Although I knew most (namely my three best friends) would most likely side with the other guy, this is what I felt in my heart and so I spoke anyway.

 I could stick up for Miley Cyrus, for example, for she is a human being who suffers from fame, but not like what she does or what she sings about. Doesn't mean that because she is overly franchised, talked about, problematic, or cheesy, she isn't as valuable as the rest of us. She's human, humans are sacred, thus I defend her even when other people disagree with her. (Why I made the connection between her and Christian music, I don't really know...)

But I digress.

If I defend something, it's usually because of a deeper reason than "I just like this thing a lot". As long as something hits home, I'm ALL over it.

Q: What is your opinion of BadCatholic now?

A: Still love him. Because we're called to love each other. Especially our enemies... *ahem*

Q: What IS wrong with Christian music?

A: I think people who don't really listen to Christian music tend to stereotype. Or judge it based on the dj's. But a "problem" that is very evident is relevance. It's like we're diluting Jesus or something so He's easier to swallow by making him current:

Chillax, man. Don't worry bout nothing. Just call me up homie and just forget all your probz. Give me your wishlist and it shall all be yours cuz I love to spoil you rotten. Cuz I luvva, dude. Phillipians 4:6

But EVERY music industry does this (indie people have nothing to worry about *Josh Garrells, cough, cough*), so it's not surprising that Christian media would do so. But it's disappointing. And unnecessary. But this is a whole other topic I'd rather not get into (it'll take WAY too long) so I'm going to recommend the book "Jesus Shock" to you instead.

Q: What IS Christian music, then?

A: A genre that wanted to be different from the other music that had crappy messages? Perhaps. Or is it separate because society wanted Christianity to stay out of the mainstream world? Very possible. It is true that music is of God, but because we have original sin, our talents have gone through corruption. That is why there seems to be a split.

Q:  But what IS Christian music?

A: Ask God.

Q: What IS music?

A: Go away.

Q: What IS MUSIC????

A: An art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions insignificant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color. 

Origin: God

Q: Since hearing replies and input from others, have you changed your mind at all?

A: Heck no.


Friday, March 22, 2013

In Defense of Christian Music

Man I've been wanting to say this for a LONG time, and there hasn't come a perfect time to unleash my fury than now.... It's been itching, screaming, and clawing it's way out of my heart. A lot of people don't know this, but when I hear this I may look totally normal on the outside, but inside I am all

You guys have no idea

The topic is Christian music. Ah, yes, the musically formulated "Christian" cheese whiz for your ears. The rip-offs of famous hits with "Jesus is Lord" sprinkled throughout. The kind of music that ALWAYS gets played at the emotional parts of movies or TV shows. The thing that Christians and atheists alike love to criticize. Yeah, I'm not too crazy about it myself.

This isn't everyone's favorite topic to pick apart, but tonight I am going to whole-heartedly defend it's cause! A bit of a shocker, considering that I seem to be the type who wouldn't do that. But what I'm about to write about is something I am quite hardcore about. *Lawlz I used the word 'about' three times in that sentence*

Let's start by addressing a very problematic article on the internets:

I know darn well how Marc Barnes (AKA the Bad Catholic) pushes the envelope when blogging... Heck, that's his specialty, if he got paid for doing that he'd be a millionaire. Usually his articles are well-written and, being as brilliant as he is, he generally constructs very solid, well-grounded points throughout. Sometimes I disagree with him, but..... asdfghjklqeixzzcmnbx..... ARGH. I mean, sure he was right about a few things, but the whole core of the article was screwed up and I don't think I've ever disagreed with him 100% before. I'm talking about one of his more recent articles titled, 5 Reasons to Kill Christian Music. *Yeah, you can see where this is going already...*

His #1 reason was "Writing a “Christian” song reduces Christianity to a modifying adjective".

Opinionated, much? The word "Christian" is an adjective... And that'sssssssssssss...... bad? 

That point was lame to begin with. Anyway, moving on.

My mother made an excellent point when she reacted to this page, notably over Marc's second reason to "kill" Christian music. She said that there's always gonna be that woman or man (and you know who I'm talking about) who has a house full of made-in-China Jesus statues everywhere, or cliched inspirational posters, or "Jesus Rox" shirts, etc, and they're living all out for God, but why put that person down? Marc's point is basically the same thing as saying it is better to have a pornographic image on your wall than a cheap plastic Jesus statue because it's "real art", and God made "real art". Again, another lamazoid and surprisingly not-well-thought-out conclusion.  

I remember a friend of mine poking fun at the over-joyous-and-fake-laughs-over-every-caller's-comments DJ on KLove, how annoying it was that they were pushing the whole "positivity and smiles all around" message. Well, what if, just imagine with me for a minute, that that message actually means something to someone? And *big shocker* it DOES. Lemme tell you something:

Once there was a little girl whose family was experiencing a nasty divorce. Because of this, the family wasn't going to church at the time. She got made fun of at school. The girl felt so much pain, confusion, and sadness that it was indescribable. Who could she turn to? What was the only encouraging thing she had in her time of suffering? Christian radio. That was the closest thing to church she could get. She would listen to that, listen to the messages, and pray with it...

While I have friends who roll their eyes when that Casting Crowns song comes on the radio, I have other friends who sing it worshipfully, remembering and thanking God for the moment He spoke to them through the music. Ok, maybe I am more likely to listen to a "secular" radio station over a "Christian" one, but I can't help think of what good it has done to people. I have had a friend who was very close to my heart whose life was turned around just because she decided to listen to Christian music one day. Her views had changed, everything had, and she was became serious about her faith. All because she had tuned into Spirit. God spoke that day, and it was in a way that she could hear and understand.

The Catholic church also teaches that even if the motives are wrong, the pith, the core, is valid even so. For example, if a priest was secretly living a totally messed up life, that doesn't mean that the root of the mass he is leading was dug up. The Eucharist, the sacraments, the blessings, were all still holy. The same can be said about Christian music. 

Besides that, everyone's walk with Christ is completely different from each other. Different things matter to different people. For guys like Marc Barnes, Christian music simply isn't going to cut it, but for others, like my good friend, Christian music is vital. And that is perfectly alright whether you agree with it or not. It'd be equally wrong if a Christian music fan said that people like Marc Barnes should "kill" their Mumford and Sons because it isn't explicitly Christian. See? 

Still aren't convinced? Here's SCRIPTURE for you that makes the EXACT SAME POINT...

Philippians 1:18:

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice...

In yo FACE, suckahs.

If Christ is being preached, that's all that matters, in every way

YES Christian music is cheesy! YES a lot of Christian artists are simply in it for the money! I completely agree with that, BUT THE GOSPEL MESSAGES AND PRAISES ARE STILL VALID. Before you make fun of the fakey-ness of it and use it as the scapegoat, or rather, the excuse, to listen to Ozzy, stop and think for a second. Look at the whole picture, not just your opinionated one. Those are real people, telling real messages, whether they're actually in it for the message or not. There is a fine line between pointing something out and being flat out judgmental. Sometimes our own opinions can seem like the strongest truth in us, but no matter how you slice it, truth is... truth! Thus let's not say we "should stop making Christian music", and let's certainly not kill it. OK? Game over. 

STILL don't agree? 

Fine then.


God bless you all.

PS: All the stories about those people that I talked about are 100% real. I just didn't include all their names so that I may respect their privacy. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Illuminati in mass media and my Catholic two cents on the matter

I know, I haven't finished my story and it's been weeks since I've written anything, but please allow me to finish things in my own time and order! And I apologize.... happy?

OK OK, enough of the fluff. Let's get on with it, shall we?

So as most everybody knows conspiracy theories and crazy assumptions about our everyday media have been thriving in Internet conversation. Talk about the Illuminati and dark forces behind the latest music video aren't only contained in small Internet threads or major blogs such as the Vigilant Citizen, no, it is even talked about on news networks, but often in a negative or downgrading sort of way. Discussion of Beyonce's performance during the halftime 2013 Super Bowl, for example, was especially hot. It has drawn more, how you say, awareness on the subject of conspiracies. Still, the possibility of such things is something many blow off or think is a bunch of bologna. 

But what exactly is everyone talking about? For those of you who don't know, I'll lightly inform you. 

So basically some people have made claims that there very specific things that are almost always present in your favorite tv show, movie, music video, advertisement, tech toy, snack, or song; things that are laced with evil and demonic intentions. 

What these theorists have seen are these specific objects (or symbols) are repeated EVERY-frickin-WHERE in media and we never notice them. I'll put a few picture links to show examples. Some of these objects include:

- A triangle or a pyramid [1, 2, 3, 4...]

- Hexagon (or beehive) pattern

- Blood

- Black and white tiled floors [1, 2...]

- Butterflies or bees [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6...]

- Covering up (or emphasizing) one eye [1, 2, 3, 4, 5...]

- Devil horns [1, 2...] 

- Some type of metamorphosis 

- Skulls

- Human advancement/robotizing

Just to name a few...

There is far more detail, symbolism, and explanation behind all this, and there is no way to sum it all up, and it's not worth it either. I'll work with what I got...

Anyway, these things are supposedly symbols that could represent slavery, mind control, freemasonry, demonic possession, a culture of death, the antichrist, Satan worship, war, and things of the like. Many ask how does this affect anything? Apparently these symbols are supposed to affect our subconscious or us in a spiritual way. And a WHOLE LOT of work and research has been put into this to back it up. 

Blah blah blah, so just how legit is this stuff? Is it real? Do these things really happen?

I believe it. 

I don't think you will turn into some mindless drone after watching a Disney movie or anything, and I also don't think there is any need to panic or shove this stuff down people's throats. I also think that there is some stuff in these theories that is crap, but if you look at how fame has changed individuals in scary ways you have to eventually stop and wonder what exactly is going on. 

Another good question is WHY? Why are these things so heavily laced in everyday things? As far as human beings go my answer is money and power. Simple. With money and power, you can do almost anything. Or, so people think....

Every legend must eventually die. And when someone mega rich dies, they can't take their money with them. People like Adolf Hitler lose all their power as soon as they go to the grave. It's an obsession with gaining the world and losing as much of the soul as possible in order to make that happen. And as for us innocent everyday human beings who get our daily dose of mass produced media, well, we buy this stuff. Sin sells, and is made again and again and again and again. See? Money money money. That's why God told us to guard our hearts because sometimes we really DON'T know what we're letting into our hearts and minds.

As far as spiritual forces go, the Devil is always out to corrupt the church and the truth in any way that he can. Music, talents, stories, imagination, were all built by God, and the Devil tries to claim those things by putting sin in the picture. But just because Jay-Z sung about Satan in a song doesn't mean that Satan now has claims to music. It's quite hilarious actually how lame Satan's attempts are at dominating things. 

Some people claim that these symbols are prophetic and lead to evidence of a very scary future. Truth is we humans really don't know what the future holds. One thing we Christians do know is that Jesus will come again and set everything right. It WILL be a great and terrible day, but we really don't know when exactly that will be or what it will look like. Besides that, if these symbols really are demonic, why should we trust them? Isn't Satan a LIAR? 

As for us Christians searching and warning others about this symbolism, well, I think God wants every Christian to be on the lookout for His signs and wonders, not the Devil's. It's ok to be aware of it, I think, but to purposefully dig them up and spend all our time and labor on it isn't our calling. One thing I've personally discovered is that God is also very evident is mass media too! He CAN speak through everyday things! Messages of love, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control can be seen everywhere! It's like what 80's Christian rock band Petra said in Judas' Kiss (ironically and hilariously) in a subliminal back masking message.

Also as a catholic, I know that the church is, like mass media, heavily composed of symbols with various meanings. That's why many theorists attack the church as well. But unlike mass media the church's symbols all contain messages of love that all point towards the depth and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Kingship of God, and the influence of the Holy Spirit. It makes sense to me that Satan would try to mirror that in an evil way. 

So what do you do now? Start looking and searching for God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength! Be careful what you do, act out of love, and ask God to make you clean from all your sins. He will! Believe it, bro. :)

Teal Moustache