A growing trend
If you tune in to Christian radio or stay abreast of the Christian music circuit, you’ve probably noticed a change in the music of late. When I say “of late,” I mean the past decade or so, with a quickening effect even in the past couple of years. What’s trending, in my view, is a concentration of very original, worshipful and spirit-driven songs and albums, as opposed to the extremely recognizable pop sound that’s dominated Christian music in the past. The change has been welcomed by audiences everywhere, and the proof isn’t farther than your FM dial. What used to be regarded as a lost and superfluous sector of the music industry (probably because most Christian ballads sounded exactly the same) has become a bit of a front-runner. Increasingly popular bands like Jesus Culture, Bethel Music, Hillsong United, New Life Worship, and Gateway Worship all fit this newer mold. I’ll describe why I think this change has occurred and is occurring, and why I think God is completely behind it.
Worship takes precedent over music
The predominant shift that’s taken place in Christian music is a focus on worship, as opposed to merely music. This ‘bend toward Heaven’ has essentially prioritized worship over any other expression of song or music, and I believe that God has blessed it. It’s a posture of dependence and an attitude of humility, and it’s positively affecting the church and the melodies we enjoy and choose in two ways.
The American media, with the exception of a few “rogue” truth tellers, has leapt to the support of Planned Parenthood with a cunning crisis management plan which depends on the apathy and ignorance of the American public.
“Abortion is on the rise at Planned Parenthood, and life-saving care is decreasing. All the spin in the world will not overcome that reality.”
The plan is simple and it’s sound public relations really – deflect focus away from the issue in question and shift blame and attention to someone or something else. It’s the art of half truth. This way the actual problem at hand can recede into the shadows of careless American journalism without being checked or challenged, or in this case abolished. In the scenario of Planned Parenthood selling fetal body parts for profit, I don’t know that the word “issue” does enough justice to the many slaughtered infants whose voices have been silenced by this evil foundation. Let’s call it more appropriately a ‘callous evil.’
Shifting blame and slandering the just
When Carly Fiorina called out this gruesome organization that’s been sure to announce it’s secondary services, (pap smears, breast exams, etc.) which are common services offered by many thousands of other federally funded clinics that aren’t guilty of murder, she was barraged by a unified and organized media counter assault. The message was that Fiorina lied about the graphic video (there are many incriminating videos put out by the Center for Medical Progress – any one of them evidence enough to immediately cut off federal funding to PP). But who is it that’s lying in this scenario? Fiorina or Planned Parenthood, with its arsenal of slanderous and dishonest media comrades? What shall we as the American people believe anymore when the news is no longer about reporting facts, but opinions? And what shall we conclude when those opinions are gradually guiding Americans away from what’s true and just and delivering them straight into the suspecting arms of evil? As ambassadors of a Kingdom established to usher abundant life, do our positions on matters of life and death not have implications?
“A New Birth of Freedom” – Steve Forbes
Vision for America
Entrepreneur & Political Commentator, Steve Forbes, charts a simple yet profound course for America’s rebirth with his 1999 book, A New Birth of Freedom. A 1996 republican candidate for president and longtime editor of Forbes Magazine, Forbes proposes policies and methods throughout from a place of authority and sense. Covering topics from the tax code to the environment, few stones are left unturned in this manual of sorts fashioned to cut waste and focus on what matters most to Americans.
A New Birth of Freedom reads more like Forbes’ blueprint for his presidential bid than a compelling charge for Americans to reconsider republican ideals. With that said, I’m more than content to trade elegant language for something that’s straight forward and worthwhile! In delivering a worthwhile and judicious read, Forbes should be commended also for his common sense positions and free market tendencies. With many of his petitions either replicated today by conservative thinkers or re-purposed in some form in the political circuit, the bulk of what Forbes details in this book is nothing short of visionary.
Grade – B+
This weekend the group of teenagers and adults that I serve with in our Children’s ministry at church reflected on how we can better reach and influence the children we interact with on Sunday. We had discussion and really reflected together on how we can best do this. As I was sitting in the discussion group the thought came to mind that these principles are not just for dealing with children but really everyone in our lives. This simple truth or lesson is something we should take into all relationships and not just in our closest ones. It’s a truth we likely all know and have heard before. But I know it’s one we all struggle with from time to time and can grow in. I can go as far to admit that this truth encouraged me this weekend.
There have been some people in my life as well as a few clients I’m sure that have exhausted me lately and I know it has shown in my actions, words, and in my thoughts. This fresh perspective gave me a renewed thought process in terms of how I treat people. What would happen if we treated every co-worker, client, business or person like they were made in the image of God? It should make a difference in everything we do. See Leviticus 19:18. Think about it. If we treated everyone (not just the titles mentioned above) like they had the potential to believe, to love, to be kind, to trust, to be trusted, to have value, to improve, to be successful… Then it should change how we treat and relate to them. It shouldn’t matter if they believe what we believe, whether they go to church or not, or even if they are Christians.
“Beyond the Laces” – Bob Salomon
Salomon and Young deliver a memorable and stirring tale of kindness and redemption with their children’s book Beyond the Laces. Sports stars from across the land have given the book two thumbs up, from Dodgers manager and Hall of Fame Hopeful, Don Mattingly, to ESPN football analysts Herman Edwards and Ron Jaworksi. This heartwarming tale is paired nicely with vivid illustrations and nostalgic rhyme and verse, making it enjoyable not just for young sports fans, but everyone!
With the fall season comes many exciting things for the sports enthusiast. MLB’s post season, college and professional basketball on the horizon, and most evidently: FOOTBALL. Football and the falling leaves and crisp air seem to coincide and work together to bring about a spirit of anticipation. This spirit is captured in BTL and along with it is a message that our youth must hear: people do indeed care and kindness can change everything.
Grade – A
A recent article from the Huffington Post (accompanied by a staggering amount of other “special interest” stories on this topic from HuffPost) brought my attention to an idea, or rather a market, that I did not know existed. Just like the recent information concerning Planned Parenthood, I’ve had to rethink and reclassify what “evil” is in my mind and heart. Ashley Madison, the business highlighted in the story, is just that: incomparably licentious and evil. They simply exist to promote adultery among married individuals and make a profit by encouraging this very act through managing the communication between both parties. For some reason consciously planning an affair is more detestable to me than stumbling into one. The heart has determined to sin in advance. James puts the progression of sin this way:
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” JAMES 1:13-15