99 Problems …

99I remember being a part of a “haunted house” style event our church was hosting, one Halloween. Being the rambunctious and outgoing type, the people in charge thought “That Kris guy would do great as Satan”
It was a “reality” based maze that leads attendees through a cascade of “life” scenes, like: Drunk Driving, Family Abuse, Drug Use, eventually luring them through a Hell scene. Where yours truly convincingly and theatrically welcomed any who wanted to join me (Satan) – except that one time I forgot my lines, and in an awkward 15 year old voice, squeaked “Just go to the next room” … the next room was Heaven, complete with elderly angels with glittery wings and a Party City bearded Jesus welcoming the attendees and imploring them to choose Him.

As a 15 year old, relatively new Christian … I didn’t see a problem with this. Actually I thought it was fun to scare people! I loved Halloween and dressing up … THIS WAS A PERFECT COMBINATION! ….. 15 years later, I whistle a different tune.

For the last month, across the street from where I live, there’s been a giant red tent with the sign “The 99” on it. When I first saw it going up – they had advertisements that looked like “Halloween Horror Night” ads – complete with “The Ring” girl and the restricted “R” lodged in her eye.
Then one weekend … LIGHTS! It was open and the reports of what “The 99” really was started coming in. 
I had a feeling I knew what it was, mainly because of the people who were going … I didn’t want it to be true … I didn’t want this to be another “Hellhouse” in the middle of February … It was … They said it wasn’t – as advertised its “The Ultimate Near Death Experience” and “The production is not based on fear or scare tactics” … I decided to go – and literally drop my preconceived ideas of what “The 99” was.

Let me take you through my experience in two waves – theatrically and methodically

Room #1:
Black room with a single red light shining down on a 6′ tall, chain linked cage, which housed a kneeling cloaked figure. Over head there’s a droning soundscape with a slightly seditious sounding “radio friendly” voice saying something along the lines of “Your fears becoming reality” … Cloaked figure walks out from the cage and among the attendees  then to the next room … we’re told to follow

Room #2:
Our cloaked “spirit guide” is standing against one of the back walls and we’re told to line up against the other … suddenly a slew of screeching middle school and high school students are yelling at one another – you can’t really tell what’s being said … just yelling. Oh, and that continual droning soundscape … Then the banshee kids start beating up on another kid … Why are they doing that? No idea … Suddenly a muffled sound of a car revving up … Head lights shine behind a bed sheet. Some words are exchanged, no idea what they’re saying … WHY IS SHE LAYING ON THE GROUND. Apparently, between the “words exchanged” and the “droning soundscape”, there were gun shots. She was shot by the car behind the bed sheet … The “radio friendly” voice is back. No idea what he’s saying … We’re told to go to the next room – passing the shot girl, who is now covered in “blood”

Room #3:
There are seats for us to sit in, in this room. Someone’s already sitting in one. It looks similar to a trailer, moments after a tornado moshed on through. This scene was hard to understand. There was an elderly lady hitting a boy with a newspaper, exclaiming “There isn’t anymore food”. A hefty, fresh out of high school, lad in a lay-z-boy with a bottle in his hand. 2 young boys on the couch facing us. One cutting baby powder and the other smoking an imaginary bong. To their right, our left, a young woman yelling at the aforementioned “hefty” lad in the lay-z-boy, on a mattress on the ground … some mystery guy in the corner … and another Lay-z-boy facing away from us. The scene was supposed to depict drug use, drinking, abuse and … hunger? While observing this scene a very loud and shocking scream came from the actor who was already sitting in a seat when we arrived … asking for money, drugs ect … then in the confusion, Mr. “radio friendly” is back saying something about drugs. The mysterious man in the corner then comes and turns the lay-z-boy and shows us there’s another young freshman with a syringe … He’s dead … more blood. We’re told to exit for the next room.

Room #4:
Already being familiar with the scene setup, from my previous theatrical showings … This had to be suicide. It’s dark. The television in the front of the room gives us light … We’re watching a young lady tell us how unworthy she is, how terrible of a daughter she OMG! DID YOU SEE THAT!! … It was like the ring! (She was talking, then the scene cut to her standing with her hair in front of her face, then back to her and another shot of her with her face in the camera … typical horror stuff) … The creepy soundscapes is still there … gun shot, kinda … We turn around to see a real live person, with the same hoodie the young woman was wearing … covered in blood. Asked to exit

Room #5
Car accident. 2 cars facing each other. Blood everywhere. 8 middle school/high school actors drape over the mangled cars. Faint baby cry … I don’t remember if “radio friendly” dude said anything … What I do remember is, one of the passengers attempting to call 911 and dying … spitting blood all over the side of the car … we’re told to leave.

Room #6
2 coffins … more really young actors wailing over them. Multiple news stories are played on the side of the tent … at a 45 degree angle, slightly out of focus. Texting and driving was the moral of this scene. We stood through 4 or 5 news clips and asked to move on.

Dark, black … faint red light in the far corner … we’re wrangled in like cattle. Waiting …. waiting. Then with a howl a young woman, wrapped in chains attached to the wall, pleads to be let go. Our spirit guide then unlatched her and escorts her to the “next room” …. Silence …. Another howl, but this time from the other side room, “HELP ME!” bellows the tight room … again, she’s ushered to the “next room” by our spirit guide … this happens two more times before we’re asked to go to the “next room”

Room #8:
If you haven’t guessed yet … the “next room” … is Hell.
Lining the walls were chain linked cages with young girls dolled up in white and black makeup, screaming to be let go. In the center of the room, another 6′ tall chain linked cage with a similar girl, pleading for freedom. Pouncing about a metal table in the back of the room was a cloaked, horned figure … with white and black make up. His lip-synched voice sounds familiar … AH! It’s Mr.”Radio Friendly” … He’s Satan?! You can’t hear what he’s saying, over the screaming caged girls, but I’m sure it’s sadistic. AH!! SOMEONE PULLING ON ME! AH! It’s a skull masked … thing … why is he pulling on me? Wait what happened? There’s a light … people are leaving for the next room …

Room #9:
Small room, bed sheets line the back area … Flight attendant voice comes overhead and says “Now leaving Hell” .. hmm cheeky. From here we’re watching a few clips from “The Passion of the Christ” … on the side of the tent, at a 45 degree angle. Then, after a few moments … a bloodied, party city bearded Jesus teenager walks his cross from behind a bed sheet and into the other room … by Roman centurions with the worst English accents I’ve ever heard. We exit.

Room #10
… a few more clips from “The Passion” … Nothing is being said, just clips. The same party city bearded Jesus teenager is mechanically turned to reveal himself to the crowd. We stand there for about a minute, not sure what to do. We’re escorted to another room

Room #11 consisted of chairs placed in front of a television screen where we watched a patched together video of a movie called “The Bridge” where a train conductor, after a “tragic accident”, has to decide whether to save the oncoming train, or his son – who was caught on the tracks … The father chose to sacrifice the son. If you’re a Christian, you see the tie in … loosely. John 3:16 is splashed on the screen and some guy with a microphone tells us “We’re not here to scare you” … “Pray this prayer” … From there they led us to some volunteer counselors. Mine was a bright eyed young man who was all smiles. I asked him what he thought of the walk through … He hadn’t seen it. He didn’t know what kind of “realities” were on the other side of tent – he graciously volunteered for something he was ignorant of. Sweet kid, really … but unprepared and uninformed.

The thing is, “The 99” isn’t for Christians. It’s a bait and switch for non-believers.
“Halloween Horror Night” style advertisements, “The Ultimate Near Death Experience” tag line, the complete absence of anything remotely Christian … To bring in those who aren’t “saved” into the “reality” that is the hour walk through of “The 99”. Again, slightly off point – because the only REAL thing I observed (that being, NOT over dramatized) was the Crucifixion – and sadly was cheapened with an estimated minute worth of clips from “The Passion of the Christ”.

“The 99” says: “The production is not based on fear or scare tactics” … but really … it is.That’s all I experienced in my walk through … A poorly constructed, overly dramatic, theatrical “ministry” based on the backs of young middle school/high school volunteer actors, focused on death and Hell … and really quickly a few Jesus nuggets. No real Gospel was given. No real presentation of Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice was shown.
Only an obtrusively medieval Hell, it’s fallen angels and a cheapened defeated Jesus.

Human choices in this life really matter, we’re not just playing a game of chess where God will place the empty pieces back on the board and say “Alright, this was just a game. Now we’re doing something different” The real life choices we make, here on this created earth really do matter.

Now while “The 99″‘s idea of dramatizing life situations to point out the universal problem of sin and our need for a savior to deliver us from temptation on earth and ultimately hell, is indeed a necessity posture towards evangelism, their approach to life decisions and Hell is much like parents saying “If you don’t behave, Santa won’t bring you any presents”. It’s using Hell as a weapon to scare people into being good little “non-texting while driving” girls and boys and using Jesus as the brief salve. Without a clear message and a sound presentation of the gospel of grace, it’s just a carnival show.

In short “The 99” supplies an unhinged “reality” to act as the crux of a weighty eternal decisions … With no REAL solution given (a minutes worth of “The Passion” clips and a tortured Jim Caviezel), no real Gospel presentation (an inaudible “pastor” reciting John 3:16 and reiterating what we just walked through) … And, theatrically embarrassing. Now I’m aware “The 99” could be a Ballaams donkey. God can use whatever means He can to, by the Spirit, bring men to repentance … Even an overly dramatized, under performed, unbalanced theological presentation like “The 99”

Christ is not a tortured  Party City bearded Jim Caviezel, the Gospel of Grace deserves more than a minutes worth of “out of focused” movie clips – and if the Spirit convicts those who are observing this walk through, it would be beneficial for the volunteer counselors to have first hand knowledge of what they’re counseling and know how to give the Gospel in relevance to what was experienced.

“Go, therefore, and theatrically scare people to heaven” – Said Jesus never …



OMG! Taboo: Tattoo!


I was introduced to the Christian faith as an obnoxious punk freshman in High School.

Mohawks, dirty jeans with sewn on patches, studded belts and drawn on tattoos is how I rolled … Looking back … I was such a poser, but I loved punk rock (not punk rawk).

The tense expressions of music, politics and art were appealing to me at that age, especially the music and the art … specifically the tattoos that draped over my favorite band members. Sometimes during class I would decorate my forearm with sharpie drawn amateur tattoo and purposely walk with my arm just a little turned out to show it off … Tattoos fascinated me.

My gracious parents were a little reluctant after I told them I was going to be doing some flash art pieces for a tattoo shop up the road … I found myself drawing sacred hearts of different styles, sailor style banners with scripture’s like “Philippians 1:21” and even old school rockabilly sparrows …

Needless to say, I wanted a few tattoos …

Although, this interest in punk music and tattoos, didn’t really go over well with the pastor of the church I was attending. He took me aside before service one day to tell me “the way you dress and you’re interests need to change. You’re showing disrespect for God and participating in things that are not Christ-like – read Leviticus 19:28” … I didn’t know what to say … he was the pastor … he knows God better than I do, heck I just started walking down that road.

I found myself rattled and insecure.

Almost 15 years later, I can look back and see that even though his intention of transformation was there, his reasoning of the Levitical Law
Leviticus 19:28 say (according to the ESV) “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord”

As a 21st century western cultured Christian looking at this verse … “cut your body for the dead” is a bit foreign to me, but “tattoo” … I know what that is! The only downfall to that is a cultural difference in understanding.

Quickly looking at the first part of the verse “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead”. This mandate to the Israelites was to warn them against pagan practices (all of Lev. 19 is just that) … Take the Amorites, they would cut themselves when someone passed in their community. Even for a king they would shave the hair around their ear and cut off a part, make various cut on the arms, mark the forehead and nose, and cut arrow patterns into their left hand. There is also some speculation that the tattoos were burns, charred markings. THESE were a pagan practices God did not want the Israelites to participate in … Regardless of the ancient practice of the rituals themselves, it was more the worship (positioning of the heart) that was weaved with the practices that God deemed idolatry. This “law” was then fulfilled in Christ and we are no longer held to Levitacal restraints.

… Moving on …

Much like the pastor that confronted me about my dress and interests, Paul encountered similar dichotomies in the Church of Rome … but with meat (kinda)

Rome was a little bit like the modern day United States. A melting pot of cultures and commerce, pagan/Christian practices.

The new, young church had an inner struggle. In the pagan temples the meat that was burned up for the sacrifices was given away. Some Christians believed it was wrong to eat the meat and abstained from eating it as to keep themselves “clean”, while the remaining Christians thought nothing more than “FREE MEAT!” and ate it.
Paul, aware of this inward feud, confronts both views in this manner;
Romans 14:6-8 ” Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God, and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. … If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord”

It’s about the believers conscience … as Paul continues in Romans 14:22-23 “Whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith and everything that does not come from faith is sin”
Lamens terms – If you’re convicted by it, stand by your conviction and don’t hold (judge) others to YOUR personal conviction.

Alright wrap up time … There is a large misunderstanding of application toward the Levitical Laws in today’s modern world. I mean how do we rationalize the applicable qualities of Leviticus 19:28 and not 19:26 (You shall not eat any flesh with the blood in it – there goes my steak dinner) or 19:27 (You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard – of course we know beards are epic) …
It comes down to an eisegetical notion being assumed from generation to generation. The same type of notion Paul encounters in Rome and also in Corinth – but Paul’s invocation was that despite their opposite view points, don’t point fingers and regard yourself as more righteous … but realize that in this one body (the Church) there are many parts and each one does what does for the glory of God … It was co-existing in spite of varying convictions and regarding community and brotherhood as the bigger picture.

I have tattoos – but I don’t go to work in sleeveless shirts to show off my decorations. I’m aware that there are those who don’t think tattoos are Godly, and I respect that … So I cover up.

But for me, tattoos are like “painting the walls of the temple” (1 Cor 6:19)
I have a quarter sleeve piece on my left upper arm now, of Paul (Saul) on the road to Damascus, prepping to finish with David, mourning with his lyre and a future ¾ sleeve on my right arm Space/Earth/Ocean floor. These 3 pieces aren’t to glorify my appreciation for tattoos … but to echo “No matter who I am (Saul becoming Paul), No matter what I do (David mourning), No matter where I am (Space to ocean floor) … God is faithful to save, forgive and be near.

I have tattoos, and I have tattoos for the glory of God.

Until Next Time,

FACT: I Love Halloween

4th grade, Anna Maria Island Elementary. My teacher was Mr. Swank and I’ll never forget the day that his tall frame and glistening bald head announced that the school was putting on a costume contest … I won’t forget it because after I left class to meet my sister for bus-riders … we had the same reaction. “Mom’s gonna make us dress up like dice again!”

Let me rewind a few years. My mom is one of the most creative, inspiring women I know … Halloween came around and she thought us kids would have a blast at this community trick or treat at the Manatee Civic Center (where there was also a costume contest) She had this adorable idea of sending the two of us out as a set, a match, a pair … of dice … all dolled up in white shoe polished faces, red circled cheeks, plastic black derby, giant cardboard boxes with holes cut out for our arms and legs … oh …. and leggings …. white leggings. I was horrified

Fast forward back to the 4th grade costume contest! I decided, I wanted to be a vampire, a few days before the contest, we put together what we thought to be an excellent vampire costume for a 4th grader. I was so excited … no white shoe polish, no cardboard, no leggings! The transformation begins … first the pants (black) … then a white ruffled button up shirt my mom found at goodwill (thinking back it must have been a ladies blouse) … after the shirt gets buttoned, she adds just a small layer of white makeup to my face. Then comes a sweet cape we found, a necklace with a cross and a nice pair of fancy black shoes!

Out comes the black shoe polish … I could see it now, instead of giant red cheeks … she’s thinking giant black eyes or something hideously nerdy!!

“this is going to be the widows peak, just a small V on your scalp hun”
I fought her in my mind, as she draw this “peak” on my once cool looking pale vampire-like face …
She pulled away so I could look in the mirror ……………. cool ……………….. that’s pretty cooI! I was satisfied, maybe she knows what she’s doing after all! To complete the hair, my mom used something that had the word SAP in it … like tree sap … but for your hair.

It was finished (mwahahahahaha) … the transformation was done and there I stood, in my room, surrounded by Ninja Turtle pillows and Dave Justice posters … I was a vampire (a cool looking one too)
Needless to say …  I won first place in the Anna Maria Island Elementary costume contest … and it took about a day or two to get that sap out of my hair … but it was worth it.
It was worth being excited and creative with my mom. It was worth working and being together. It was worth it.

That was not the end of my reign as “Costume King”. I would later go on to win best costume at King Middle School for my 6th grade costume of an old woman … btw … my mom helped me out with that one as well … and again … it was worth it.

Halloween has never been about ghosts, ghouls, demons/evil, for me. It’s always been about quality time with my family, using our imaginations, being creative, and candy … that’s all (especially candy)

The Christian World View is based on Christ’s commandment to “Go into all the world” (Mark 16:15) and “The light shines in the darkness … and the darkness has not extinguished it” (John 1:5) even “Let your light shine before men …” (Matt 5:16)
Let’s take that last verse (Matthew 5:16) and pair if with a quote from D.L. Moody, which says, “We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining … they just shine”
“To the pure all things are pure, but nothing is pure to those who are corrupted and unbelieving” (Titus 1:15)

Dressing up like a vampire, even an old lady … wasn’t a moment of impure motivation for me. I was a character attempting to win a costume contest and bring home that glorious sweet tasting bacon (… candy really) … Not some dark force.

It seems as if we’re loudest when we’re “against” something. When our own ignorance gets the better of us. When we don’t fully understand something and possibly even fear it … we’re loudest. Yes, Halloween has a weird history, but so does Saturnalia … er I mean … Christmas. We don’t celebrate Saturnalia, we celebrate Christmas … the “birth” of Christ (other possible Christmas days: March 28th, September 11th, November 18th) and as such, we don’t celebrate Halloween, we celebrate “National Costume & Candy Day!”

I love Halloween because I love the memories it’s given me. Hiding in the bushes in my ninja outfit to scare my sister, who was dressed as Princess Jasmine. Even getting caught egging my friends house … yes we cleaned every square inch of it afterwards. So for me, Halloween isn’t the occult, Celtic holiday it once was, just as Christmas isn’t the week long, lawless, pagan celebration IT once was ….

Happy Halloween, be safe and eat candy!

Until Next Time,

Music So Good You Should Steal … but don’t do it

Tuesday, September 20th, marks a lovely addition to the world of music releases …

Seriously, it’s either feast or famine … and right now we can loosen our belts cause we about to feast!

ALRIGHT, if you’re a creature, much like myself, who thrives on the addiction of new music … I’ve jotted down a few “must-haves” for your enjoyment.

#1) Needtobreathe – “The Reckoning”

These boys are ridiculous first off, but this new project will solidify their “signature” sound. In conversation with a friend of mine, we’re assuming this might be one of the last times NTB and Christian radio converge … but we’re hoping not. (Christian radio NEEDS bands like NTB)
My personal favorite – “Oohs & Aahs” … enjoy 😉

#2) Gungor – Ghosts Upon The Earth

As Glenn Packiam puts it “In a world of bland beats, trite lyrics, & predictable riffs, Gungors “Ghosts Upon The Earth is a musical and theological feast”
I myself couldn’t agree more! On “Ancient Skies” we started to see a departure from “the norm” of “worship” music (just to clarify, that phrase ‘worship music’ annoys me a bit) Then an explosive separation into a more artistic/creative/imaginative/expressive buffet of musicality in “Beautiful Things” … which Gungor continues to push further past the copy/paste type of style, lyrical blandess of most music in it’s genre with “Ghosts”
This is a MUST for anyone who just appreciates good music.

Take a few minutes, listening to the opening track “Let There Be”

#3) Thrice – Major/Minor

I was never a big Thrice fan … that was until the “Vheissu” album. With cuts like “Image of the Invisible”, “Like Moths To A Flame” and others, I unintentionally was hooked.

Proving themselves to not just be a “rock” band but to expound and experiment with their sound with the “Alchemy” project. “Major/Minor” is another great expansion of that sound.
One track that hit me, not only lyrically but sonic-wise .. Words in the Water .. check it out.

#4) Katie Herzig – The Waking Sleep

I first heard her sweetly singing “I Will Follow” from her “Apple Tree” album a few years ago … She became a nice little name to drop anytime I was around people who knew “SO MUCH” about music haha.
“Oh have you heard of Katie Herzig? … no? … oh you should?”
And rightfully so, she needs to be known. Adorable little voice that produces lyrics much deeper than the musical alludes to …
Do yourself a favor and check out tracks: “Free My Mind”, “Way To The Future”, “Midnight Serenade”, “Daisies & Pews” … actually just check out the whole record.
Her new video for opening track “Free My Mind” … enjoy

Also make sure, if you have time, to check out these releases as well!!
Lisa Hannigan – Passender
Matt Maher – Love In Between
Leeland – The Great Awakening
Tori Amos – Night Of Hunters
Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah – Hysterical

Well … that about sums up this one. If you have any new music you want to share. HIT ME UP!!

Until Next Time,

NOJ = Not Over Joyed

I’m not a mother, obviously. Nor am I a parent, but I am a son … and I know that look, tone and disfigurement that MY mom used to get when I was irritating the mess out of her. That “I swear if you keep pushing I’m going to straight up bite you in half” kinda look.
I think I might have spotted that look about 1000 times this past weekend.
No I wasn’t trapped on an island with my mother, I was at Night Of Joy. The disfigured faces, with the scowl and crooked finger, weren’t donning the wicked witch outfits either … they were employees … disfigured from the thousands of tyrant like youth groups … and I don’t blame them … I might have worn the mask that night a few times myself.

My wife and I were in line, surrounded by teens and their leaders. We know from past experiences what to expect on the NOJ nights … so we weren’t surprised. Like a pack of hybrid banshee parrots, they square off. One youth group against another, their love for “Jesus” and then throwing the challenge back “how about you?!” … and then the random yelling of something that solidified that they were some sort of parrot hybrid … “Hello!! … HELLO!!”. Then, as if on queue, the pushing started. Some of the older, more mature youth decided the line wasn’t moving at the pace they were used to. Needless to say … I put that mask on. As we approached the cast member in charge of placing us in our designated areas … I could tell he was wearing the mask … the cast member who instructed us on how NOT to ride the ride … wore the mask as well … Even the cast member who really just pushed the button to start the ride … you guessed it … masked

I knew this would happen …
It happens every year (that I know of).
The forcefully rude and belligerent hybrid banshee/parrots have ruined Night Of Joy

But should I take this rant to focus on the undisciplined, out-of-control pubescent miniature adults? …… or their leaders?

By the end of the last NOJ night, Tobymac was on stage singing about “Greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city” and all that was running through my already embarrassed, fully frustrated mind is … “‘Frustrate them like Jesus’ might be the slogan for next year”

Now let me clarify. This animosity isn’t directed at the hordes of rambunctious kids, I was one … I know how it is.
It’s directed towards their leaders.

It feels as if, in the last few years, “Leadership” and “Christianity” have interwoven themselves … Even though I don’t think they should (which is a blog in and of itself) nonetheless it needs to be recognized. If in this trend of “building better leaders”, we should see better leaders.
Forgive me if I’m folding bad leaders in with great leaders but, I did not see 1 real good leader of the said “rambunctious kids” at NOJ.
From Space Mountain to The Haunted Mansion, you couldn’t escape that “scowled” face from the “Most Magical of Employees” … They were literally screaming at kids to “Stay in their seats, Keep your hands in the boat, please don’t throw things, no yelling in line please” …

Where are their leaders?
Setting an example for them, showing them discipline, exuding a Christ-like respect and servant attitude to those who are SERVING THEM?

To put it bluntly, I don’t think Paul when saying “I become all things to all people, that I might win some” was giving leaders permission to “become like rambunctious, disrespectful youth groupers that you might win some” … because I’m sure based on whatever I saw at NOJ, you didn’t win any … if anything you irritated them into the opposite direction.

Bottom line is this.
Leaders, step up and take care of your youth group.
Parents, don’t expect your leaders to carry all the weight.
Take care of the testimony you carry.
Take care of those who are serving you.

Keep in mind that even though it’s expected at the “Christian Night”
That thousands of hybrid banshee parrots are attending and will likely be … well … you know.
It doesn’t need to go without good leadership.

Until Next Time,

Top 5 Post-Summer Songs

I was debating doing a blog like this, but I really like music and love to share it even more.

If you asked my wife about my music selections, she might use words like “erratic” “anarchical” … which I don’t mind.
So forgive me if the styles jumble like a bag of Chex Mix …

Alright, song #5
I was flipping through a friends Spotify playlist when I saw this band. Cute name, I thought … the song was hooky, interesting, pop but just enough off center to make me love it
Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks

Moving on to #4!
When I first listened through the song, I had to fight not to think … “Did Switchfoot just rip of Lenny Kravitz?”
But this song grew and grew on my critical musical mind. “I been to hell and back again” caught me … I thought … oh yeah, this is going to be good … and I was right.
Switchfoot – Dark Horses

So that brings us to the hump of the list, song #3
This song was actually a bit of a surprise for me … Don’t get me wrong, I have an soft spot in my heart for bands like Two Door Cinema Club, MGMT, Bat For Lashes, M83, Caribou … but I hadn’t really ever heard of Strange Talk, but again thanks to Spotify … I have now added it my fav’s
Strange Talk – Climbing Walls

ALMOST THERE! Song #2 is relatively easy … HUGE NTB fan. I think it’s safe to say I have what some people might call a “man crush” on the boys … but nonetheless … from the “Soon To Melt Your Face Off” album “The Reckoning” enjoy 🙂
Needtobreathe – Drive All Night

This is where the difficulty set in … Since before “Parachutes” I’ve loved me some Coldplay … So when I heard “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” … I leaked a little … it was so good … but so was “Major Minus” (another song an a small EP) … there was one difficult decision. There was yet another one in the wings.
Mat Kearney dropped a new album called “Young Love” … like a moth to a vintage dress in a womans closet … I snatched it up and fell head over heals for “Ships in the Night”
So, 2 #1’s …
Coldplay – Ever Teardrop is a Waterfall

Mat Kearney – Ships in the Night


I hope you enjoyed this little tid bit of musical expression …

If you have any you’d like to share feel free to comment!

Until Next Time,

Do We Want Depth, Or Shallow Hugs

I started this by scripting out ways Christian music could be better, but it came across pompous and arrogant … not my intention. BUT, in typing, I felt this needed to be said at least.

In the last few years, there has been a trend in Christian music/song-writing, a cuddly trend … a “this is a boyfriend/God” song … kinda trend. An “I’m only going to graze the idea of an emotion” kinda trend.

Not that those songs aren’t good songs … but some sing as if they were the cutest love song of a boy and girl, that playful, flirtatious beginning of a relationship … then like that bad aftertaste of something sweet … they throw the word “Lord” or “God” or “Jesus” in there, just to add another JPM (Jesus Per Minute) point … It’s ok to be a Christian/Singer/Song-writer and have a love song about the opposite sex … truly … actually I wish there were more.

On the flip side of the coin …

I was driving to the gym 2 days ago and heard Mat Kearney’s song “Down” come on the radio … “He lit a cigarette felt in on his lip, Driving home on a long road with regret” sang vulnerably through my car speakers. 2 thoughts went through my head 1. GREAT story-telling … like a painter with words. 2. It will never get the respect it deserves as a song, it should, it’s catchy, great musically-lyrically, but because it has the phrase “He lit a cigarette” in it.

I can hear the Christian Culture … “Why does he have to smoke, that just ruined the story”

In all honesty, I wish the lyric was “He smoked a PACK of cigarettes” … Kearney is attempting to paint a story of an angst ridden, soon-to-be father … what would you rather him use? “He chewed his fingernails?” “He paced back and forth?” … I don’t think those lines paint the angst you can feel in the song.

If you find yourself uncomfortable with a song that positions it’s character smoking a cigarette, while he ponders the weight of becoming a father in the world … yet not see the Gospels promise as the chorus screams ” WE ALL NEED FORGIVENESS” … you might not want music at all … but an audible “gee … you’re swell”

I would love it, if Christian music were bold enough to sing about doubts, mistakes,  wanting to dance (either romantically or on “da dance flow”, real-life “I’m on the verge of being a Christian” kind of songs … the modern version of Paul’s use of pagan poetry on the Mount. I want nothing more than to see an emboldened Christian Culture reaching out, with a Christian perspective/world view, into the areas of sex, drugs, rock & roll, adultery, slander, doubt, remorse, dancing, clubbing, ect. Christian music didn’t accept Christ as it’s Lord and Savior. As far as I know Christian music was never in Sin and needed a Savior … Christian music doesn’t need to worry about the doctrine of total depravity or the perseverance of the saints … it’s music.

Or maybe you’re ok with the “God is my boyfriend” songs … maybe you’re ok with the sideways shallow hugs …

Until Next Time,

P.S. Enjoy the song