Monday, October 5, 2009

My rant...

Hey everyone, I'm sitting here at the church (Freedom Valley Worship Center) wearing my prized Roethlisberger jersey ( ;) ) and Terrible Towel around my neck patiently awaiting the Steelers vs. Chargers game.

Anyways, there's been a rant going on inside my head for the past few weeks and it was re-kindled today...I have therefore decided to share it with the world. This rant is completely my opinion, so mind you some of my comments may seem a bit rash. But it's ok...because this is Schneetown and I can say whatever I want! yes

So today after church I was talking with a fellow music fan about the band "Delirious?". Basically we just talked about how awesome they are and how unfortunate it is that they are on their final tour. I am kind of unsettled about this as they are one of the very few Christian rock acts for me to listen to.

What I think makes Delirious? such a great Christian band is that their songs have awesome production values, yet also write excellent lyrics with great theological depth that are used in places of worship the world over....but it is music that I could recommend to a non-believer because I also think their stuff just sounds good. Do they have the space/art/glam/arena/progressive rock (haha) sound that Muse (hands down, in my opinion, the band putting out the best stuff) has, of which I love ? Not necessarily, but if you listen to their entire discography you'll hear a band that is consistently pushing their envelope and embracing musical trends of today and writing thought provoking music...which is such a cliche thing to say, but I said it anyway :).

Call me ignorant, but I think the majority of everything else in the Christian music scene (besides specifically worship groups) is garbage. Yikes.

Casting Crowns? Eh, no.

Christ Tomlin? nope

MercyMe? please

Don't get me wrong...these artists have and, Lord-willing, will continue to write great, inspirational worship songs...but these songs sound INFINITELY much better when I hear another worship leader/team lead them. I want to hear Christian music that isn't cookie cutter crap. Take a band like Delirious and the way they arrange songs and I dare you to re-capture that sound. I don't know, there's just something about the combination of their lyrics, production values and creativity that for the longest time has had them way above everyone else in the Christian scene.

I want to hear more bands like them. In the secular realm you have the aforementioned Muse that is just tearing up the music scene. There's the always reliable Coldplay that just produces results. You listen to theses bands and they ooze with creativity. Now don't get me wrong, there are plenty of stinkers in secular music, but there is just so much more to choose from. However, that should not be a reason to be satisfied.

This rant also extends to the movie industry. I love movies. Let me say that again. I. LOVE. MOVIES. I love them so much so that I rarely call them movies; instead I call them filmsbecause it makes me feel sophisticated (haha). I consider myself to be a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to film. If I wasn't called to full-time ministry I'd either be at Berklee School of Music, or I would be at USC or UCLA for film. Anyway, I pride myself on my taste in film and I'm sure I can seem kind of arrogant when friends recommend movies to me and I'll just say, "no". Because you can tell when a movie is going to be TERRIBLE.Transformers....woohoo right? No. Michael Bay should have his credentials for the DGA (Director's Guild of America) revoked. It's highway robbery the way he steals money from people via eye candy with no substance. You can spot a sappy, melodramatic "chick flick" from a mile away (yes there are good "chick flicks" out there). It's unfortunate how movies are churned out by the masses; quantity over quality. It's unfortunate how one of the greatest films of all time Star Wars, my personal favorite, started what is now the summer blockbuster endless wave of mostly effects-laden, shallow films that look bright and sound loud. It's unfortunate that a brilliant film like No Country For Old Men comes about and the majority of the viewing audience is upset over the ending. Come on it makes perfect sense. That was Tommy Lee Jones' movie...not Josh Brolin's and not Javier Bardem's. Those two just happened to be taking place in Jones' world where he, an old man, is struggling to find a place in the world he lives in....hence the title.

There was a point I was trying to make here...

Oh yeah...Christian movies! That's it!

So what about them? They're garbage. They're awful. There is nothing good about the Christian movie industry...if you want to call it an industry. Left Behind? Come on. Facing the Giants? Come on. Garbage.

What's with all the hating? Call it hating if you want, but I'm calling it how I see it.

Compare Left Behind and Lord of the Rings. How can you? One is crap...the other is gold. One had no budget the other definitely had a budget. One had Cloud Ten Pictures (who is that?)...and the other had New Line Freakin' Cinemas. It seems like an unfair fact it is. But I pray that one day we can compare a Christian film to The Godfather on an even plane (Luke 1:37).

Where is the point? I promise you, there is one :) .

The point is, I'm tired of how awesome and amazing worldly music and movies are and how much, for the most part, Christian music and movies just suck. Where is the Christian Muse? Where are the Christian Spielbergs? Where are the Christian Kubricks? Could you imagine a Christian David Lean (director of Lawrence of Arabia and Bridge on the River Kwai) painting a beautiful canvas of a movie for the Kingdom of God?

Come on how awesome would that be? Before you say, "That couldn't happen"....IT CAN!

The Blair Witch Project was shot on 8mm for under $1 million....and it was huge. Where are the Christian creative minds that have a passion to make great movies or great music?

This extends beyond film and music. Christians should be the best at whatever they do, they should be the best musicians, the best filmmakers, the best accountants, the best journalists. Christians doing their best does not pertain to just those who are pastors or evangelists.

Believe me, I'm not perfect at this...far from it. I struggle with giving my all in everything I do. Those who have served with me in ministry and those who have been under me know this first hand. So this is as much a charge to me as it may be to someone else.

Mediocrity sucks. I paraphrase General Robert E. Lee when he said, "anything worth doing is worth doing right." Kingdom work is worth's worth doing right. If you have a passion or gift for the best freakin' musician you can be. If you aspire for the best freakin' filmaker you can be for the glory of God.

I'm challenging myself to do this. To be the absolute best God has called me to be...and not be mediorce


DISCLAIMER: The beauty about music is how subjective one's perception of what "good" music is. Again, the statements made above are my opinion, but I hope they somehow stir up in you the drive for excellence in everything you do and to do it for Christ...because that's what our gifts and creativity are for.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My First Musing....

Hey everybody! Right now when I say everybody I am saying "Hey" to myself as I am the only person in the world that knows I have a blog...that will change, though it will not change just by itself, but by me telling others "Hey I have a blog, you should read it!" Circumstances won't change by hoping for change....circumstances change by actively doing something about them. But that's for another day...

What I would like to muse (muse - to be absorbed in thought...and also a great band) about today is inspired by Jason Fitch's sermon from yesterday (9/28/09) on the fear of the Lord. His preaching was based around Acts 5:1-11 - the story of Ananias and Sapphira. The gist of Jason's sermon was this: don't trifle with God. To trifle means to treat someone or something with little respect. Ananias and Sapphira trifled with God by lying, saying that all the money they were giving to God was all they had received from selling a piece of land. But really, they were only giving a portion of the money. The wrong done here is not that Ananias and Sapphira did not give all the money...the wrong is that they lied about the amount they were giving. If they would have told Peter that they were only giving a portion, there would have been no harm done. There were other points that Jason made which were excellent, but the moral of the story is to not try and lie to the One who knows all things.

So why am I blogging about this? Well, while Jason was preaching I asked myself a question; a question I always ask when I read this story: why was this happily married couple struck down dead back then for lying to God and yet when people lie to God now (we all do) they live to see another day? Let me make a note by saying that if I were a betting man I would bet God has struck someone else dead in their tracks over the last 2000 years. But why this exclusive event?

While I asked myself this question yesterday I believe the Holy Spirit answered me with this, "The answer to your question is the same answer to the question 'why don't we see miracle healings today?''s a lack of faith and spiritual maturity in the church "*

That really made me start to think. You may be asking, "So if I had enough faith I could choose to strike down dead whoever I wanted to?" That's not the point I'm trying to make, though that would be pretty sweet... :) Look at the first church in the Book of Acts. It is the model for how church should be. We haven't improved church by adding Powerpoint presentations or videos...the last time I checked we haven't seen thousands come to Christ in a matter of days. Without a doubt the people of the first were a faith-filled people. Through the Holy Spirit, the Apostles knew who they were. Without arrogance they new they were bad dudes. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is in Acts 4:19-20 when Peter and John are before the Sadducees who are telling Peter and John to stop preaching about Jesus. Peter's response in verses 19-20: "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen or heard. "

Only a person that has faith in God knowing that He has their back says something like that. Who else besides me thinks they might melt under the same circumstances? Definitely not the apostles and I believe that this great faith wore off onto the members of the first church as well.

So how does that happily married couple that was struck down dead come into play? Here's how: The church in Acts had something special going on...they were a unified body. Acts 2:42 "And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need." The church was operating as a unified body. From what we read everybody got along and the Spirit was able to move freely because of this unity. Never since has the Holy Spirit moved in a body of believers as it did here. Three chapters later come Ananias and Sapphira who lie to God. BAM! They're dead. Why? Because that lifestyle of lying could have crippled this great, unified body. I believe that Ananias and Sapphira served as an example to the people and that for the greater good of the church it was better that the couple be removed from existence than potential fission...makes sense to me.

Now look at our church today. Where are the miracles? Where are the great workings in the church? Before those questions we must answer these: Where is the faith? Where is the body? The church standard of today is set a lot lower than in Acts. I believe that in Acts with the great power and unity that was in the church came an even greater responsibility to maintain purity and righteousness; hence the death of the happily married couple.

What if we truly desired to go from faith to faith and chose to become more like the church in Acts? I think we would see a great increase in signs and wonders, but I also think there would be a smaller room for error within the church.

So yeah, that's what's going through my head and it may have sounded better there than typing it out, but there it is. Please don't see this as me being dogmatic, it was just a new revelation to me.

Until next time...

*Miracle healings are taking place today, but too often they are not found in the modern luke-warm church...they are found where people are desperate for God and relied on Him for all their needs, just like the people in the Book of Acts were.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's about time!

So I finally joined this part of the social network we call the internet (I will NEVER use twitter). For those who decide to indulge themselves in reading my exquisite blog (ok, I'm not that egotistical), I hope you can somehow benefit from my thoughts and reflections of life and what the Holy Spirit is teaching and leading me well as some crazy stuff as I can be a very random person.

That's all for now!

God Bless!