Saturday, August 23, 2014

An Open Letter to Vicky Beeching

Photo curtesy of Christianity Today
Not too many people in my circle of friends have ever heard of the name, Vicky Beeching. After all, being part of the independent Christian rock and metal scene, I don't always keep up with the CCM genre, an even then, I have never heard the name. I'm not even sure why I had a page on Facebook concerning her in my timeline, but I did. God had a reason for it, obviously. Hence, the reason for the writing of this open letter. As she has been in the news for "coming out," I felt the need to bring this to the table. Of course, as in all cases when I blog, I do it in love. 

Dear Vicky,

I'm really not sure how your name came across before you actually "came out" to announce to the world that you are now homosexual. I just remember seeing your name on Facebook as a musician from England, and that's how I added the page as one of my "Likes." Well, I think we have a lot to talk about because, well, I don't know you from Eve, and you'd probably say the same about me. I'll introduce myself. I'm an independent musician born in Ecuador but raised in the United States. I have studied for many years, but as time progressed, I was more drawn to the Christian rock and metal scene. God has gifted me in this realm, and I am thankful for the gifts I have been given.

You have come out in many online sites and proclaimed to the world that you are "gay." I'm not sure what that is supposed to prove, especially since I never really knew much about you before . I will say, however, that as I read the original article in The UK Independent, there seems to be more than meets the eye than simply coming out and saying, "I'm gay and God loves me just the way I am." After some serious praying and reading, I've come to some interesting conclusions. My best friend calls this, "peeling back the oninon." I like that teminology.

1.  Your background. I'm not sure how strict your Pentacostal background was. However, from what I know about certain groups, some tend to be stricter than others, often legalistic. Not sure how you were raised, but from what some groups often do, there's a lot of  "dos" and "don'ts" about what it means to be a Christian. I'm not sure if that's how you were raised, but some people raised in that type of environment end up rebelling against the church. You say that you have struggled since you were twelve, and it led you to isolation. You even had a couple of quick-fix exorcisms to help you get over these feelings for other women. I have dealt in the art of spiritual warfare over the years. Quick-fix exorcisms have dangerous theological results. Our society has delved into making God into a supernatural genie that if we ask Him, He gives us what we want. This is the reason many people fall into temptation and when they can't find freedom, they turn away completely. The failure of this group who did this exorcism rather than deal with the underlying issues shows how much we as a Body are not doing our job.

2.  Attempting to find freedom in identity. I really don't' like the term, "gay Christian" because that puts the sexual identity ahead of Christ, Himself. It's not intentional, but sometimes, it becomes something we don't often get until we realize it puts our Lord in second place.  We are made in God's image, so we need to understand how He works. Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve's rebellioin. For our first parents, their lives were very peaceful. However, they decided to stop identifying with God and instead desired to be LIKE God, kowning Good and evil. In many ways, we are not different th an our first parents. We are all born into sin and want our own way. When we accept Him, He becomes our identith. We can be tempted by sin, but we are not slaves to it. If God doesn't share his glory with anyone else, He certainly does not to share His glory with an alter-idenity.

3.  Giving in. Homosexuals are not the only group of people who have given up on the fight. Unlike you, my circle of friends are Christian metal musicians and fans.  Their biggest gripe is usually rooted around hypocrisy by others who claim the faith while engaging in activity contrary to God's standards. They then decide that they're going to live rebelliously (I.e. drink, smoke, party), then claim to be okay with it since they're not being hypocrites. Rather than showing their counterparts a better way to live, they also give in.

In a different way, you have given in by not just allowing that temptation of homosexuality to become your identity, but you have allowed the LGBT movement to use you to promote gay "marriage" as well as other issues of homosexuality. You have taken your cause up to the church by inventing a new theology in order for people who struggle to feel less guilty. In peeling back the onion, let's examine a few things. There's a good form of guilt which leads you to repentance. That is the guilt over sin that everyone struggles with. Giving our sins over to the Cross and allowing Jesus to clear them away is a great way to find true freedom. Then, there's a form of guilt like you described, the type that brings emotional distress. In other words, the church may be telling the truth about homosexuality with issues like Sodom and Gomorrah, but without allowing love to come throguh, those who struggle will find themselves in further bondage. You've seen where that approach goes, and it made you deal with this by embracing it and encouraging others to do the same. Ask yourself this; how does one form of bondage suddenly take care of another form?

There is still more peeling back left, but that will require us as believers to deal with the issue in a better light than what we're doing currently. We take to extremes, one side laying on the condemnation while the other side embraces it as natural behavior. Neither side can stand in this situation because they both lack love. I have observed a lot of people who have, or are currently in the homoexual lifestyle. About 90% of them have issues of sexual abuse, or they struggle with issues at home related to other forms of abuse. These underground issues must be dealt with on a larger scale. We need to get to the root of these issues rather than celebrate a lifestyle that is killing people, sometimes literally. Even Freddie Mercury understood the great lengths that his homosexual behavior was killing him because he waited until the last minute to tell his bandmates and the world he had AIDS. Not only was that unfair to his bandmates, but it was unfair to him because in his dying days, he could've received some good spiritual counsel.

Vicky, like many others, I'm praying for you. I'm not expecting a miracle cure, but I am hoping to get to the root rather than simply just adopting a form of identity Christianity that doesn't put God in His rightful place at the throne of your heart. I'd even suggest some of my friends and I spend some time with you over a soda or a cup of coffee (hot chocolate for me). God's message of repentance is one of compassion, mercy and grace. I'm sure you've read in John 8 about the woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus saw right through the trap of the religous leaders by exposing their own sins. When the woman's accusers left, Jesus could've easily condemned her, but he didn't. Still, he didn't just leave things the way they were. He said, "Go and sin no more." Yes, God still loves you, but just like the woman caught in adultery, you probably need those same words of encouragement, the kind of tough love that says, "Go and sin no more." I could say a lot more on the issue of sexual sin, but I'll save that for some other time. In the meantime, prayers are going up.


Blessings,
Lia


Romans 8:1 KJV
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Long Distance Dedication to Casey Kasem

After hearing of Casey Kasem’s ailing health what a better way to honor the man than to do my own "Long Distance Dedication!"

Dear Casey,

Photo curtesy of Google.com. 
I don't know anyone who hasn't grown up with you, including myself. Our lives were shaped by your soft-spoken way of counting down the Top 40 every week. Some of us even remember the voice of Shaggy in Scooby Doo, or other characters from the Hanna-Barbera era. I grew up in the 80's, so the artists at that time included Michael Jackson, Madonna, Hall & Oates, Bruce Springsteen, Foreigner, etc. When you counted down the Top 40 during those years, I was always listening, even if you didn't actually have the voices of the musicians talking about their songs. Your soothing voice related to everyone who was listening, as if you were in our living rooms or wherever our radios were, talking to us. And who could forget those long-distance dedications? A certain song would pop into our heads, and it would remind us of many different things, especially someone we loved or cared about who may have passed on. We could easily relate to the situations posed by the person sending out the dedication. We always liked the songs people picked, and we were happy that we heard them, regardless of the decade. Those were very good days.

Now, we hear your health is failing, and it's very possible you will slip into eternity before we know it. I understand that you adhere to the Druze* faith, a combination of Islam mixed with Greek philosophy, which would explain many of the causes you have attached yourself to, like trying to bring people together, and fighting for peace. Sadly, human nature, and humanist philosophy will not bring us closer to this peace. Many people believe peace to be the absence of conflict, but even that cannot exist. There's something called sin that most of us individuals would not wish to talk about. Although God is loving, sin cannot be in His presence. This is the reason He sent His son, Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Good works are wonderful things, and we must strive to do them, but they cannot save.When we are saved, our good works will come through. I will impart a few words from Scripture, here:

Isaiah 64:6 KJV
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

I am sure all of us desire a world of peace. There's nothing wrong with that. However, no matter how good we think we can make ourselves, it is not enough to a holy God. Have no fear. God understood that. This is why he made a way to remedy the situation. 

Romans 3:23-26 KJV
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

The word, propitiation is not used in our modern world, but there's a deep meaning to this. It's a word similar to "goodwill"or "favor," so the meaning is very clear that Jesus paid an ultimate price for sin to give us favor. I hope you were able to understand the meaning. This is good news for you if you haven't understood it in these last remaining hours.

Please consider these words carefully. God loves you. He sent His son, Jesus to die for you. He wishes to see you in Paradise. In the last remaing time you have, this is an opportunity to give Jesus everything and accept Him. He is ready and waiting.

Casey, this is my long distance dedication to you. I'm praying you are ready to meet Him, tonight. God bless.


In His name,
Lia



*Druze religion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druze

Thursday, June 5, 2014

My Dear John Letter to Rolling Stone Magazine

I am sure there are a number of folks who have had to write "Dear John" letters. This one goes out to a once-great music magazine. 

Dear Rolling Stone Magazine:

I understand that my subscription will be up very soon. I've been receiving notices letting me know that I will no longer receive Rolling Stone after a certain period of time. Well, I'm afraid it can't come too soon. We once had a really good relationship. I would read your articles on music, and even though there were some political topics that I didn't agree with, I usually bypassed them. Well, there are just a few things I can't ignore.

First of all, whose idea was it to publish a cover article featuring Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston terrorist? (Ref: August 2013 Editioni). Conservatives and liberals alike are shaking their heads at this rather bizarre decision. So, you were trying to create a sympathetic character for everyone to read about, how a "good kid went wrong" scenario. All this may seem cool in the minds of elitists who like to psychoanalize people, but tell that to the families of the dead in Boston who are still living with the nightmare. Tell that to the people who watched the gruesome events that took place at the finish line that day. 

And since when did a magazine that was once dedicated to the music industry decide to delve into politics? Yes, I have a conservative worldview. Not everyone views the world the same way. You seem to have this idea that everyone in the entertainment industry must be liberal. Some musicians don't get into politics and they prefer to keep their craft seperate from their politics. If you would ever like to see a subscription from me ever again, write your own political magazine and stick with the music industry. Save politics for people who actually know what they're talking about. 

I remember hearing musicians talk about how they would do everything to get themselves on the cover of Rolling Stone. Now, they say that they could care less anymore. Seems that music, television and movies seem to be connected into one entertainment media. They used to have their own identities at one time. Seems also that if you believe the right things, say the right things, fight for the same causes, you'll make the Rolling Stone cover for the next issue. I really can't go with that, and it's sad that the music industry doesn't have its own identity like it used to. Maybe it's because of shows like American Idol that have made the entertainment world seem like one big giant mess. 
But I will give you some credit where credit is due. You did a cover article on Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day after his recovery out of rehab. It sounds like he's staying off of drugs and getting better. That's a good thing. I wish Rolling Stone could do more articles like that. Yes, it had to come on the heels of his meltdown at the iHeart Radio Festival, but even he realized that he was losing it and needed help. He's still in my prayers even as we speak.

Unfortunately, our relationship has come to an end. I am sure there are many musicians who feel the same way. Years ago, Rolling Stone had a reason to brag. Now, you are just irrelevant. I hope you find what made you a once-great magazine, and stick to it.


Sincerely,
Lia (LadyRocker)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Final Words to Johann Hölzel (Falco)

(February 19, 1957-February 6, 1998)


I don't normally write blogs about deceased artists. After all, they're been gone for quite some time, so when I happened on Falco, it was a rather bizarre thing. One doesn't normally mourn for an artist so long after he or she has been deceased, but this was the case, here. Obviously this is sixteen years after Falco's death, but I wanted to put this matter to bed. This is my dedication and final words to the late artist. Thanks goes out to Ute Blum  and David Amerein for the translation in German.

Photo curtesy of Google.com


ENGLISH/ENGLISCH

Dear Hans,

You don't know me, but I know who you are. Most everyone who has listened to music from the 80's knows your entertainer name, Falco. I prefer to call you, "Johann" or "Hans." I listened to your music as a teenager. I think I even had a crush on you when I was 15. "Rock Me, Amadeus" was a huge hit on the American charts, but I really liked, "Vienna Calling" more. I'm glad I didn't learn about "Jeanny" until much later. I'll explain in a bit. I was young and naive then, but now I am an adult. I have a lot more to say now that I am older. When I heard about your death back in 1998, it didn't faze me. I was too busy going to school and reaching for my degree in music. At that time, celebrity deaths weren't that interesting. I study them now so I can learn some life lessons from them.

In 1990, I dedicated myself to praying for a musician that he would come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. That prayer was answered, but I wouldn't know the truth until years later. I had the chance to tell him so, and it moved him that someone would even bother to pray for him, especially during a dark period in time. I would later learn that it had to do with drugs and alcohol. I often wonder if, during your lifetime, I had been as diligent for you in prayer at that particular time, things would've been different. Only God knows. I often wonder if there was someone praying for you that fateful day you took that drive out on February 6 1998.

The day after Christmas, last year, I decided it was time to put away all the music of the season and look up some stuff online. I've studied a lot of musicians who have left this world too soon, so this was nothing new to me. Now since many of your lyrics and interviews are in German, I had to look for anything I could find in English. I even found some interesting translations to many of your songs. I've even read plenty of biographical material on you. You've obviously patterned your life like that of your idol, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. No one could ever say that Johann Hõlzel as Falco wasn't brilliant. He was. “Rock Me, Amadeus” was a HUGE success, and that’s the honest truth. “Vienna Calling” was also a great dance hit, though it was never as popular in the USA.

“Jeanny” needs its own paragraph, as it is probably one of the most disturbing songs I’ve ever heard. My fiancé preferred to call it “creepy.” I will give you that you knew how to express yourself well, and you nailed it! I think you expressed yourself a little too well, I might say. I’ve probably heard stalker songs before, but this one has a very sinister vibe. It never made a peep in America, but it sure got you in all kinds of trouble, and I can understand why! Needless to say, I still shake once in awhile when I hear the text and get the translation. I know the other “Jeanny” songs are rather benign in comparison, but still, I have nightmares now and then!

Now, getting to the meat of why, exactly I’m writing this. I mentioned that you patterned your life after that of Mr. Mozart, even the more troubling parts of his life. I know he was a rebel, but also delved into alcohol. If he was on drugs, I’m not sure what was out there, back then, but for you, I know your drug of choice was cocaine. He was also a womanizer, and as I can understand it, that was a path you also followed as well. You had only two periods of major market success: one with “Der Kommisar,” and the other with “Rock Me, Amadeus.” Your successes were faltering, and no one heard of you here in America, again, that is, until we heard about your passing. I’m listening, reading and digesting all of this as if I’m looking into your life, even trying to understand your depression due to lack of success. Even an attempt to make a comeback never occurred. It was so long after the fact, yet I bawled like a baby. Naturally, I told my best friend and my fiancé about it, and I thought I was going crazy! Listening to your own biography in the framework of “Rock Me, Amadeus” only made it worse. It sounds like you died alone in the Dominican Republic that day.

I will never know what happened in those last few hours. The reports of alcohol and cocaine were inconclusive, but even so, I have a lot of questions. Did you know you were going to die that day? Did you know of a God that loved you and would save you from you own sins if you asked? Did anyone in your lifetime ever tell you about Jesus? Growing up in Vienna, I know there were probably a lot of churches around there. Was success your god, or did you make Jesus your God sometime before you passed into eternity? It seems to me like success was your driving force to keep going, and if it wasn’t, it was the drugs, alcohol and women. Lastly, in those moments between your subconscious and eternity, did you cry out to the only One who would be able to save your soul?

In the song, "Out Of the Dark," you had a question that does have an answer. In English, it translates to, "Do I have to die in order to live?" The answer may surprise you. You wrote about addiction and its grip over you. In previous years, you would brag about it, but over time, it became an unwanted friend that needed you. A real death is a true dying of self. Would you have ever considered giving the Lord your addiction? I know He cared more about the real Hans Hõlzel than the graven image of Falco, still trying to make a name for himself.

You’re in eternity, now, Hans. My questions will never be answered. It pains me to think I might not see you on the other side, but I can’t mourn you forever. This period of mourning is almost over, and it’s time to move forward. I never got the chance to pray for you as I have prayed for others. However, I will never lose an opportunity to pray for someone who may be struggling just like you. They may see the height of success, but then suffer the lows of depression and loss. They can know there’s hope that success, alcohol, drugs and women can’t bring. Jesus is the only true Hope, and I will spend my life imparting that wisdom to anyone I see.

Goodbye, Hans. Maybe I’ll see you when my time comes. I sure hope so.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever beleiveth in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting life.” --John 3:16 (KJV)

In Christ’s love,
Lia

GERMAN/DEUTSCH

Lieber Hans,

Du kennst mich nicht, aber ich weiß natürlich wer Du bist! Fast jeder, der die Musik der 80er Jahre kennt, weiß wer der Musiker Falco ist. Ich nenne Dich lieber "Johann" oder "Hans". Als ich ein junges Mädchen war, hörte ich Deine Musik. Ich glaube sogar, dass ich damals etwas in Dich verliebt gewesen war! "Rock me Amadeus" war ein großer Hit hier in den Staaten; Ich persönlich mochte "Vienna Calling" besser. Ich bin froh, dass ich die Bedeutung des Liedes "Jeanny" erst viel später erfuhr! Ich werde dies gleich näher erläutern. Ich war damals jung und naiv, doch nun bin ich Erwachsen.Jetzt wo ich älter bin, habe ich viel mehr zu sagen! Als ich von Deinem Tod erfuhr, im Jahr 1998, hatte dies noch keine Bedeutung für mich, ich war zu beschäftigt mit der Schule und meinem Abschluss in Musik. Zu dieser Zeit waren Todesfälle von Prominenten für mich noch nicht so Interessant! Nun habe ich begonnen siezu studieren, um einige Lektionen fürs Leben von ihnen zu lernen!

Im Jahre 1990 widmete ich mein Gebet einem Musiker, auf daß er Jesus als unseren Herrn und Retter erkennen möge. Mein Gebet wurde erhört,aber die Wahrheit erfuhr ich erst Jahre später. Ich hatte die Gelegenheit, es Ihm zu erzählen, und es bewegte ihn sehr, daß sich jemand die Mühe machen würde, für Ihn zu beten, vor allem während einer dunklen Episode. Diese Zeit, so erfuhr ich später, hatte mit Alkohol und Drogen zu tun. Ich frage mich oft ob sich die Dinge anders entwickelt hätten, wenn ich zu Deinen Lebzeiten so gewissenhaft gebetet hätte für Dich. Gott allein weiß es. Ich frage mich oft, ob wohl jemand für Dich gebetet hat an dem verhängnisvollen Tag, dem 6 Februar 1998, als Du Dich auf jene Autofahrt begeben hast.

Letztes Jahr beschloß ich am Tag nach Weihnachten, daß es an der Zeit sei, die Festtagsmusik beiseite zu legen und einige Dinge online nachzuschauen. Ich habe die geschichte vieler Musiker studiert, welche diese Welt viel zu früh verlassen haben, dies war nichts Neues für mich. Da viele Deiner Texte und Interviews in Deutsch sind, mußte ich diese in englischer Uebersetzung suchen! Ich fand sogar einige interessante Uebersetzungen einiger Deiner Lieder. Ich habe auch viel biographisches Material von Dir gefunden und studiert. Du hast offensichtlich Dein Leben struktuiert wie das Deines Idols Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Niemand konnte sagen, daß Johann Hoelzl alias Falco nicht brilliant war! Das warst Du! "Rock me Amadeus" war ein RIESIGER Erfolg, das ist die ganze Wahrheit. "Vienna calling" war auch ein großartiger Tanz-Hit, obwohl er nicht ganz so populär war in den USA.

Zu "Jeanny" muß ich einen eigenen Absatz schreiben. Denn es ist wohl eines der verstörendsten Lieder, die ich je gehört habe. Mein Verlobter bezeichnete es als "gruselig". Ich will Dir zugute halten, daß Du wußtest, wie man sich Ausdrückt, und Du hast den Nagel auf den Kopf getroffen! Ich möchte fast behaupten, daß Du Dich fast ein Bißchen zu gut ausgedrückt hast. Ich habe wohl schon Stalkersongs gehört, aber dieser ist einfach unheimlich. Er hat eine dunkle Stimmung. In den Staaten hat man von dem Lied nichts gehört, aber es hat Dir wohl allerlei Schwierigkeiten beschert, und ich kann verstehen warum! Unötig zu erwähnen, daß es mich nach wie vor gelegentlich schüttelt, wenn ich den Text in der Übersetzung höre. Ich weiß, daß die anderen "Jeanny"-Songs im Vergleich dagegen gutartig sind, aber trotzdem, ich habe immer noch gelegentlich Alpträume!

Nun, warum genau ich dies hier schreibe. Ich habe erwähnt, daß Du Dein Leben nach dem von Mozart gestaltet hast, inklusive der problematischen Aspekte seines Lebens. Auch er war zur seiner Zeit ein Rebell; auch er sprach dem Alkohol zu. Bezüglich Drogen weiß ich nicht, was damals erfügbar war; was Dich betraf war Deine Wahl Kokain. Er war auch ein Frauenheld, und soweit ich verstehe, war das auch der Weg, dem Du gefolgt bist. Du hattest zwei ganz große Markterfolge: zum ersten "Der Kommissar" und zum zweiten "Rock me Amadeus". Mit den anderen Liedern geriet Dein Erfolg ins Stocken. Man hörte Dich hier in den Staaten nicht wieder, bis zum Zeitpunkt Deines Ablebens. Ich höre, lese und verdaue das alles, als ob ich in Dein Leben Einblick nehmen würde, und versuche auch Deine Derpression mangels weiterer Erfolge zu verstehen. Nicht einmal ein Versuch zu einem Comeback hast Du unternommen. Es war schon so viel Zeit vergangen seit Deinem Tod, doch ich begann zu weinen wie ein kleines Kind. Natürlich erzählte ich meinem besten Freund und Verlobten davon, und ich dachte ich werde verrückt! Deine Biographie in Form von "Rock me Amadeus" zu hören machte es nur schlimmer. Es scheint, Du starbst einsam an jenem Tag in der Dominikanischen Republik.

Ich werde niemals Erfahren, was in den letzten Stunden Deines Lebens wirklich geschah. Die Berichte über Alkohol und Kokain sind nicht ganz schlüßig, aber auch so habe ich eine Menge Fragen. Wußtest Du, daß Du an jenem Tag von uns gehen würdest? Wußtest Du von einem Gott, der Dich liebt und Dich von Deinen Sünden befreien würde, wenn Du danach fragen würdest? Hat Dir in Deinem Leben jemand von Jesus erzählt? Du bist in Wien aufgewachsen, ich weiß daß es dort viele Gotteshäuser gibt. War der Erfolg Dein Gott, oder hast Du Jesus zu Deinem Gott gemacht, irgendwann bevor Du starbst? Es scheint mir, daß der Erfolg Deine treibende Kraft war um weiterzumachen, und wenn nicht, dann die Drogen, der Alkohol oder die Frauen. Schließlich: Hast Du in jenen Augeblicken zwischen der Bewußtlosgkeit und der Ewigkeit nach Gott gerufen, der als einziger in der Lage war zu helfen?

In dem Lied "Out Of The Dark" hattest Du eine Frage, auf die es eine Antwort gibt. Sie lautet: "Muß ich denn sterben um zu leben?" Die Antwort mag Dich überraschen. Du Schriebst über Sucht und wie sie Dich im Griff hatte. In früheren Jahren hast Du darüber geprahlt, aber mit der Zeit wurde es ein unerwünschter Freund, der Dich brauchte. Ein echter Tod ist eine wahres Sterben des Selbst. Hättest Du je in Betracht gezogen, dem Herrn Deine Sucht zu übergeben? Ich weiß, daß er sich mehr um den echten Hans Hölzel kümmerte als um das Bildnis von Falco, der immer noch versuchte, sich einen Namen zu machen.

Jetzt bist du in der Ewigkeit, Hans. Meine Fragen werden nie beantwortet werden. Es schmerzt mich zu denken, ich könnte Dich nicht sehen auf der anderen Seite, aber ich kann Dir nicht für immer nachtrauern. Diese Zeit der Trauer ist fast vorbei, und es ist an der Zeit, vorwärts zu gehen. Ich hatte nie die Chance, für Dich zu beten, wie ich für andere gebetet habe. Allerdings werde ich nie eine Gelegenheit verpassen, für jemanden zu beten, der in Schwierigkeiten steckt wie Du. Sie mögen die Höhen des Erfolgs erleben, dann aber die Tiefen von Depreßion und Verlust erleiden. Sie sollen wissen, daß es Hoffnung gibt, welche Erfolg, Alkohol, Drogen und Frauen nicht gewähren können. Jesus ist die einzig wahre Hoffnung, und ich werde mein Leben damit verbringen, dieses Wißen jedem zu vermitteln, dem ich begegne.

Adieu, Hans. Vielleicht werde ich Dich sehen, wenn meine Zeit kommt. Ich hoffe es.

"Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, daß er seinen eingeborenen Sohn gab, auf daß alle, die an ihn glauben, nicht verloren werden, sondern das ewige Leben haben." -- Johannes 3:16 (LUTHER1545)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

World War III vs. The Ongoing Culture War

This was first published on Facebook in dealing with the VMA's but gradually, it has had plenty to do with the Grammys as well. I have updated this to reflect as such. And yes, it's been awhile since I published a blog here.
I don't have cable, so I didn't watch the VMA's. For the past 15  years, MTV has ceased to be about music, but it has always been about pushing boundaries. Similarly, the Grammys were always a classy event, that is, until recent years. However, after seeing several clips and photos via YouTube, I have a few things to say. I also have to comment on this year’s Grammy Awards, as this is also relevant.
I know some feminists will say that the performances of Miley Cyrus and Lady GaGa at the VMA;s empower women, but the truth is, the whole mindset of sexualizing oneself has never made a woman empowered and has only made the men who "want it" feel they've got the right. Ladies, God made you better than this.
The Grammys went into several different directions with Katy Perry doing a performance that even made the best liberals puzzled, especially when they referred to it as “witchcraft.” Of course, Lady GaGa, Beyoncé and others would not be outdone in their sexualizing everything under the sun. And let’s not forget the rather unsettling fact that the entertainment industry has pushed tolerance to a new level in the mass gay weddings with Mackelmore fronting everything and Queen Latifah officiating.
Conservatives often complain that we spend too much time focusing on thesetawdry performances, but the truth of the matter is, we are in a culture war, even when there is war looming in the Middle East. Certainly, it is no secret that the situation in Egypt and in Syria are dire. Back on the homefront, there is a war that is just as intense. We are fighting a war in the minds and hearts of our young people, and in order to numb reality, we are selling an "anything goes" culture. Is it any wonder why society is attempting to introduce Islam to the rather debased culture of our time? It is a distinct possibility, but is hiding a woman behind a veil the answer to our feminist woes? Not really. It may hide a woman, but the man's sexual appitite still cannot be satisfied.
Here’s something for the women reading this: I look at all the godly women in the Bible and understand what made them great. Sarah birthed the nation of Isreal through Isaac, and even though she tried to "help God" in His plan, He still blessed her, greatly. Miriam led the Children of Israel out of Egypt as a musician. Rahab, a former prostitute, welcomed two of Israel's spies into her home, and later, her household was saved from the fall of Jericho. Deborah, a prophetess and songwriter, was commissioned to be Israel's only female judge, and served as a great leader in a time of war. Ruth, a Moabite, showed kindness to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and in return, married Boaz, and later had a son, Obed, who would be an ancestor to King David, as well as Jesus Christ. Esther became the Queen of Persia, and in turn, she was able to save her people from a possible slaughter. And who could forget Mary, the mother of Jesus? Obviously, there are other women I could name, but this is just the basics. They didn't need to sexualize themselves in order to become great. They were great because God worked through them.
Here’s something for the fellas, and ladies can also benefit as well: Remember that we’re not fighting against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, rulers of this dark world and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). Our armor should be on constantly as we engage others in this culture war. My friends and I have really tried to pray for those in the industry, and it can be quite difficult, but we do it because there is a need. Pray for the entertainment industry. The war in the culture will continue to get worse if we forget Whom we are serving.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Disturbing

I don't normally do politics on this blog, but this was well in my reach of entertainment, I decided to comment and share.

Last week was the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade,  making abortion legal in all 50 states.  Many people have often argued in terms of phrases like, "a woman's right," "pro-choice," "reproductive rights" or my all-time favorite, "women's health."  These terms simply put a Band-Aid on what abortion really is, the murder of the unborn.  Planned Parenthood has done its best to hide that fact from the public, especially from vulnerable women and girls.  After all,  if you call abortion anything other than what it really is, you can sell it to just about anyone.

Understanding this, the abortion racket has decided to try to sell their lurid business in other ways.   Recently YouTube posted a video to commemorate the anniversary.  Using actor, Mechad Brooks, this ad sponsored by the Center for Reproductive Rights attempts to give it a more romantic feel.


First thing I see when I look at this is, "creepy."  Yeah, I said it: creepy.  Whatever side of the issue you're on, you have to admit it gives a woman a sick feeling that her man is selling this Barry White-styled appeal for abortion so he can get what he wants without consequences.  Yes, indeed.  This is what our culture of death has come down to.  Oddly enough, this would make the late Margaret Sanger proud to know that an African-American was pitching this ad, seeing that she used black ministers and other African-Americans to sell abortion and birth control as a means of rooting out "human weeds," as she called them.

How should we respond as Christians?  This should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the moral decline of our culture.  Sex sells cars, food, and yes, even abortions.  How do we deal, anyway?  Well, for one thing, take time to discuss what abortion is really all about.  Forget the buzzwords that keep coming up. They're an obvious cover for what really takes place.  If you know someone who has experienced abortion, take time to get to the root of the problem.  If you cannot, pray for an opening in the conversation.  You might want to take the time to show this ad to someone who's supposedly "pro-choice."  I think we can all agree that this is a twisted way to celebrate abortion.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Is this acceptable?

Last week, I wrote a blog about Billie Joe Armstrong's meltdown at the iHeart Radio Festival in Las Vegas. I don't think I need to re-post the video.  What we saw was a childish temper tantrum by someone old enough to know better.  Fans of Green Day and other so-called "non-conformist" types chimed in on several posts either on YouTube or Facebook, praising Billie Joe for his "taking a stand," all the while, ignoring the guy may have some serious issues not dealt with.  When it all came down, Billie Joe was very self-centered in his approach to the whole thing.  I doubt he really took into account of how it would affect the rest of Green Day.  To say the least, it was all about him.

Similarly, I read an article on the Blabbermouth site about Anette Olzon leaving Nightwish, a well-known Finnish symphonic metal band.  From what I gathered, the band would have had to cancel several shows due to Anette being too ill to perform, so they hired two substitute singers to take her place so that the shows would not be cancelled.  Unfortunately, this didn't go well for Anette, and she was quite miffed.  Although she didn't go off like Billie Joe did, she certainly showed her disapproval, as if no one could possibly take her place.

Two different situations, two different reactions, but the same attitude that many who are in entertainment seem to give off.  I'm not sure if anyone would see the same thing I do in this, but if I had children, I would never accept this type of behavior.  I'm sure I'm talking to several parents out there.  They talk about the "terrible twos" where kids would often throw themselves on the floor and yell and scream about not getting what they want.  Most parents I know will let that child wear himself or herself out.  Often, I've heard stuff like, "Too bad, you're not getting it."  As the Rolling Stones said in one song, "You can't always get what you want."  If we don't accept this from our children, why then, do we as a society, accept it from our entertainers?  Why are we so quick to jump to their defense when an entertainer feels he or she is being wronged or snubbed?  Is it an illusion of invincibility, that somehow, we blind ourselves to the fact that our entertainers are actually real people who somehow need to be brought down to earth?

I can even remember when I was in college and feeling like I was at the top of my game, and sometimes acting like it.  That was until I went to California State University, Fresno.  Literally, I was brought down to earth when I realized there were other female singers who could outdo me in range and performance.  That, in itself was a humbling experience, and something that needed to happen before I went any further in life as a musician.

So, what does the Bible have to say about this?  Plenty.

Proverbs 16:18

King James Version (KJV)
18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

This lesson may not yet apply to Anette Olzon.  Billie Joe ended up learning it the hard way.  All his reaction did was bring him a broken guitar and a trip to rehab.

Jesus had a few words to say as well. 

Matthew 23:11-12

King James Version (KJV)
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Being humbled may not be the most comfortable thing in the world.  In fact, it can make a person feel smaller than small.  However, consider that the "least shall be the greatest" in the words of Jesus.  He knew how to lift us up in a way that HE gets the glory, not us.  So, as such, we should continue to pray for our entertainers.  After all, they are seen as leaders, but like any of us, they need to be brought down to earth to understand what life is really like away from the glitz.  In the end, they're just like you and me.  They're just in the spotlight, more.