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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

industrial love songs


"you know, you always know there are lots of people reading on the blogosphere, but despite that i use mine as a trash can sometimes...especially lately, as i've tried to work through everything. (a friend) comes on and reads (blogposts) often and each time this week, she has left comments saying she either found exactly what she needed or a little inspiration. one of them came on a day when i was at my utmost worst.



...i will not use either blog as a sewage waste dump, no matter how frustrating things seem. that i will either bottle it for a while or i don't know, but that when i'm writing on either blog, i will only write positive and uplifting posts..."

a friend recently sent me this email about blogging that triggered some thoughts...

see, personally, i don't stay very long on those mushy blogs where people only have happy thoughts and end every post with 'God Bless' or : ) or whatever...

recently i did a talk on the biblical saga of hosea and gomer. it's a heart-breaking story, but the reality is that life (even in this rather economically charmed land) has some grit in it and that pretending that heartbreak doesn't take place all around us is simply living in some sort of blissful denial. one lady in the church spoke of how, for days afterward, she had wanted to roll up a local newspaper, march over to my bead-curtained office at the church and beat me senseless with her new weapon because i had used the word 'whore' in church.

but what do you do when the second verse in the story (which sets up the whole allegory) says

The first time God spoke to Hosea he said:


"Find a whore and marry her. Make this whore the mother of your children. And here's why: This whole country has become a whorehouse, unfaithful to me, God."

i mean, you can't just skip it... i suppose you could find a translation that words it more delicately, but ultimately there is a lot riding on the reader's understanding that the people in the story had, in many ways, lost their moral centre in favour of a lifestyle where all things were permissable when there was money to be made. some of the relevence of this story today is linked to this understanding.

but a brothel doesn't exist in a place where it is economically infeasible to remain in business, does it? do i dare say that it exists due to the basic economic principles of supply and demand? that if people would stop coming to the place it would close its doors? am i gonna get hit with a barrage of viral hyperlinks to various rolled up online newspapers across the country or the continent? (oh yeah, i should wish the readership of this little roundtable discussion were so broad!)

stranger things have happened.

but i mean, get over it. in the story of hosea and gomer a big deal is made of gomer's infidelities...

(and we're supposed to see the relationship between the adulteress' disregard for the marriage covenent and israel's disregard for the covenent made between them and God... and then we are expected to see some similarities between the people of israel and ourselves as spiritual nomads in search of the redemption of a promised land, but lacking the faith required to live up to our responsibilities within God's redemption agreement)


... but virtually nothing is said about the fact that, when she put the sign on her door it wasn't long before she had found willing participants in her marital undoing. we need to remember that there were numerous characters in the story who may not have caused the girl's infidelity, but who certainly enabled it. the central beauty of this story is in the reversal that takes place in chapter 2 when the faithfully betrayed husband turns away from his bitter (and arguably justifiable) ramblings in favour of grace and mercy.

and there's the point: not the social labelling of a harlot, but the redemption of the willingly victimized and exploited. the release of one kept.

God's truth is there and people are to recognize it as a telling of their own heartbreaking secrets of spiritual rebellion... but with the hope of salvation in the final reel.

this is, in my view, why people speak of being inspired by writing even when the writing itself is just a rather public heart flush. our sense of aloneness is reduced in direct proportion to the number of people we hear from who are also feeling alone. it's a sense of somehow being alone together, and drawing hope from that.

in 1997, TIME magazine named industrial angst rocker, trent reznor (a.k.a. nine inch nails) as one as one of the year's twenty five most influencial people:

Trent Reznor INDUSTRIAL ROCKER

Trent Reznor is the anti-Bon Jovi. He is the lord of Industrial, an electronic-music form that with its tape loops and crushing drum machines, harks back to the dissonance of John Cage and sounds like capitalism collapsing. But Reznor, with his vulnerable vocals and accessible lyrics, led an Industrial revolution: he gave the gloomy genre a human heart. It's been said that he wrote the first Industrial love songs.

It is a love that the Marquis de Sade would have found delectable. Reznor's 1994 album The Downward Spiral, for example, was recorded in the house in which Charles Manson's followers murdered Sharon Tate in 1969. But it also features moments of fragility--on the hit song Hurt Reznor sings, "I hurt myself today/ To see if I still feel/ I focus on the pain/ The only thing that's real." The Downward Spiral sold more than 2 million copies; earlier this year Spin magazine named Reznor "the most vital artist in music."

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,986206-17,00.html

reznor is one of my all-time favourite artists because, call it what you will, his sadness offers the rest of us hope in that he reminds us that we are not alone in our feelings of disenchantment and pain. just this week i sent another friend of mine (whose life was being torn to shreds by some particularly bad personal decisions) some lyrics taken from a song on the most recent NIN studio album. apparently, 10 years after being named one of the most influencial people of a specific year, reznor is still both reflective and reflecting.

i must say that i there are times when i can't listen to this stuff (IE while preparing for a talk or on my way to prayer service). however, my reasons for not listening to this band at those times have more to do with me than with the music or whether God would somehow deem it appropriate or not.

I found your Top 25 to be one of the more disturbing recent articles in your magazine. The very idea that there are people in this country who allow their lives to be influenced by the likes of Rosie O'Donnell, Don Imus and Trent Reznor is frightening.
(note to TIME from ED KULASA Tinley Park, Illinois)

the reality? fallenness hurts.

while we must neither obsess nor become the lying, discouraging voice of the enemy, we can't say to life 'talk to the hand' either. we are charged with not soft-selling the redemption that Jesus' death and resurrection provides, for in making light of life are we not diminishing the need for a saviour?

i think that if my boy trent was alive three thousand years ago, he'd have been a psalmist.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

free fall

sinking
spinning
and in the end
we still pretend
the time we spend
not knowing when
you're finally free
and you could be
but it didn't turn out the way you wanted it to
it didn't turn out quite the way that you wanted it
now you know
this is what it feels like
now you know
this is what it feels like
you can try to stop it but it keeps on coming
(The Wretched, Trent Reznor)

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

reincarnation


okay, my turn with the handwritten messages...

it's really interesting how often things seem to land in your hands right when you will appreciate them most. a friend of mine regularly calls me 'deterministic' to which i reply with a heartfelt 'whatever.'

in any event, i learned on monday of the passing of a dear friend.
in my email box was this note, just waiting to be opened at such time as i would be ready to embrace it.

nice.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

you for me


so this is a lazy way of saying what i want to say, without having to write it. am i claiming to be a martyr? no...if i were to peg myself, it would probably be with hypocrisy. but this isn't a post pegging anyone or attempting to be anything i am or might not be.

this post is simply about what i know He offers and stands for...right now i might be really far away from Him, but even so, for me this and so very much more, is what He's all about.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

existence

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."
~ Helen Keller

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

giving

You can give without loving, But you cannot love without giving.
~ Amy Carmichael

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

spiritual intimacy

"What seem our worst prayers may really be, in God's eyes, our best. Those, I mean, which are least supported by devotional feeling. For these may come from a deeper level than feeling. God sometimes seems to speak to us most intimately when he catches us, as it were, off our guard."

~C.S. Lewis

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Is Poverty really that bad?

I have recently wrote 2 blogs on the plight of the poor and broken individuals in our society. While I was writing this stuff 2 tragedies struck in my life - both of which can be related back to lives that are just 'torn up' by poverty and it's related issues.

I had an older cousin of mine murdered by her boyfriend earlier this week - someone that used to babysit me as a kid while I lived on the reserve. I knew her very slightly but to hear this kind of news isn't very refreshing. Someone else I grew up with in the Core neighborhood (also my wife's first kiss ever) was the official first murder of the year in Regina. I went to school with that dude, dumpster diving, and any other stupid things we could do as kids - snuffed out in a murderous rage (same age as me). No way, this can't be my city.

In Saskatoon a young girl just left her kid on some dude's doortstep, right after being born (in -30 weather) and took off. She turned herself in and admitted 'she had no other choices left' - no support from family or the father of that baby - and didn't have the funds to provide (basically she felt hopeless). I almost thought for a second - do I know her? Is this happening in our neighbor to the north?

People ask me 'is Regina really as bad as Maclean's made it to be?'. I can only tell you for those in the know it is and for those outside of it - it isn't. I am disturbed with the fact that many of the murderers, robberies, gang-land activity, and prostitution in this city always finds it way back to me or someone I know quite well - and none of us know how to combat this stuff or what is being done to 'curb it'. I can't even name the amount of people I know that have passed away in the past 6 years that I was related to or knew in some way, shape, or form. And if I didn't know them someone else I know - knew them. Blows.

I have also talked to a lot of people about helping the poor and the response is quite small now - but I relate the ideas to people on my blog - and it's like spinning my wheels - like I am not telling the truth about the poor and broken in society. It's almost as if the church would rather not look to learn - and one person even told me it was all based on 'choice' - man, did I laugh. How can someone choose something when they don't even have all the options? But it begged me to ask this question - what would Jesus do? I think he would give a sermon or a pamphlet to someone, pat them on the back, and say 'go and be well'. Or just maybe he's eyeing that cash we give in churches for the betterment of society? Or maybe this is irrelevant anyways - 'they had it coming and they choose to die' - we're selfish anyways. What's the Christian answer?

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Monday, February 05, 2007

community


i don't really know why i'm posting...definitely not in a mood to throw out humor (at least anything most people would find humorous) and i'm not a fountain of enlightenment lately either, but that's also never stopped me before, so here goes.

i've read this scripture more than once the last couple of months...

"Joshua did what Moses ordered in order to fight Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning. But Moses' hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down. Joshua defeated Amalek and its army in battle." (Exodus 10:13, MSG)

i have this tendency to bring really weird things from the scripture i read. oh well, to me, this scripture kinda screams my life. the times when i'm at least attempting to live a life of faithfulness and have the luxury of a clear mind and sound judgement, i'm able to forge through life. but there are also those times when i get tired and take things into my own hands, because i'm sometimes just too impatient to actually realize something of actual revelance can come from a rough spot in life. the result...i essentially make forging an impossible act.

but in the same sense, this scripture talks deeply of the importance of community and unconditional love and support within that community. no one should ever have to walk alone in life...there's always support...for me, it becomes a fact of whether i choose to see and accept it. there will be times in life where you reach out to receive support and guidance and there will be times when you are the one giving the support and guidance.

things definitely seem more manageable when you aren't attempting them on your own. i think it also speaks volumes when that support is truly lived out. as people come side by side to help share burden and be in support, without any hidden agendas or ulterior expectations. i guess what i'm trying to say in this huge mess of words, is that's what community and being unified are in my mind.

is it a right perception? i don't know and i guess i don't necessarily care...it's just simply who i am and how i think.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

MIA



marcy sent me this a few weeks ago... serves as some kind of explanation for the absense of one jollybeggar...




















FIVE BEST THINGS TO SAY IF YOU GET CAUGHT
SLEEPING AT YOUR DESK:

5. "They told me at the Blood Bank this might happen."

4. "This is just a 15 minute power nap they raved about in the time
management course you sent me to."

3. "Whew! Guess I left the top off the Whiteout. You probably got here
just in time."

2. "Did you ever notice sound coming out of these keyboards when you
put your ear down real close?"

And the NUMBER ONE best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your
desk...

1. Raise your head slowly and say, "...in Jesus' name, Amen."

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pretense

"The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be." ~ Socrates

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