Why are we so mean?

I think that perhaps truth-in-love has gone our the window. I think it's been exchanged by either cowardly acceptance, complacency, or faceless and nameless and spineless written comments. I'd like to explain further, but i first feel the need to let you know that I in know way intend for this blog to be a place where I type-preach. However, I feel as though I can only talk about those things that are important and pertinent in my own life. With that mini-disclaimer....here I go.

I enjoy reading several blogs in my spare time. One of those blogs is called Out of Ur (blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur). It is a leadership type blog that deals with issues facing the church and church leadership. The topics are usually somewhat controversial, and usually garner a great deal of response. I find it interesting not only to read the actual articles, but also the comments by the readers. However, there is quite a disturbing trend in the majority of the responses. They are most often sarcastic, degrading, and (gasp) just plain mean. And I would venture a guess that the majority of people reading this blog are involved in church ministry, or at least have some connection to church.

Now I can understand that the fact that the internet gives us sort of a liberty to say things that we wouldn't normally say because we don't have to look anybody in the eye, or have any sort of verbal banter with another real live person. And I can imagine that it enboldens us. I would even admit that I feel that way from time to time, and though I have never submitted such a comment, I have spewed such pointed sarcasm on this very blog (which at the moment I feel somewhat pentatent about!). However, I would say it is one thing to be passionate, even angry about something, such that you would write about it on a blog, or for an editorial piece for a newspaper, or whatever. But to maliciously attack another person for their expressed opinions and views is different.

So my question is whatever happened to truth in love. The truth is even we as Christ-followers are going to disagree about issues.....even big issues. But I think if we are to truly follow Jesus, those issues must in no way replace the issue of loving one another. We can debate and disagree without ever attacking someone's character or personality. Even more we can (and even more are commanded to) talk openly, point out faults, correct, guide, and help each other all for the greater good of growing in Christ, without throwing love out the window.

"If we love our Christian brothers and sisters , it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead." "Dear Children, let's not merely say that we love each other, let us show the truth by our actions." 1 John 3:14,18

I think that truth is only truth when it walks hand-in-hand with love. Jesus embodied this in his days on earth. We, as little Christs, must do the same!

A Personal Day

I took a personal day off of school today. I have an event I am leading worship at that would have limited me to only 1 and 1/2 of my 3 classes, so I decided that the 1 and 1/2 hour drive to Birmingham would just not be worth it, especially given the weekend.

We went to Cochran for my Dad's 60th birthday. Hard to believe he's 60. It was really great to be at home, even for a short amount of time. We ate...and ate well I'd say (as we always do)....and the company was especially nice! Home is a relaxing place for me...a place where stress, responsibilities, and concerns seem unable to travel. And time seems to go by much slower at home as well. So a great trip home, followed by a big win by the Georgia Bulldogs made the weekend a positive. And yesterday was a good, yet tiring, day. We had a really great worship services yesterday, and a decent choir rehearsal. But the clincher for the weekend was a 4 hour budget meeting....man am I still tired from that one.

All in all today was a nice day to have off, catch up, and even get ahead on the week's work. And a good friend of mine always said that tuition covered a couple of skip days....so I am good with that!

Enough rambling now....more later!

So I was watching the nightly news a couple of nights ago, and they were reporting on the wildfires in California. Good old Brian Williams chose to tell us that "about 540,000 people have been evacuated from their California homes. That's just over half-a-million people." Now, I am totally sympathetic to what is going on in Cali. I even have a friend who lives out there who has to deal with the fire issue. And I can understand over-emphasising to get a point across. But come on Brain....is 500,000 really half-a-million???? You're kidding....really...I had no stinking idea because the logic of second-grade math befuddles me. Thanks for clearing that up! What would I do without you and your crucial commentary! Why, methinks I would be forever lost in an intellectual fog if it weren't for the stellar broadcasting of Numbers 101 that NBC has so delightfully put on the air.

You might as well call us all viewer-wooers, dangle a rattle in front of our faces, feed us creamed spinach baby-food, and change our diapers every half-hour!

For the record, I was only watching NBC because I was waiting on Wheel of Fortune to come on.....now that is quality television!

My experience in Gatlinburg was really great. I had a good time with new friends, and got to experience Gatlinburg as I never had before. Seems there are a ton of little shops right down town that are the magnet for droves of people. We were included in those droves Saturday morning as we took time to stroll through the busy city stores. While there I had a unique experience.

My two favorite (to be read LEAST FAVORITE) stores were called "GodsWorld" and "GodsCorner". Now I want to apologize ahead of time, and say that I will try to make this my last of this type of blog...but man "Christians"....and Christian marketing kills me. I want to be clear here....I believe that people are God's treasure, and that we are to love one another and all....and I try really hard at that....but as my dear Dad would say "There ain't no accountin' for stupid."

What's got me so chapped? Well in both of the stores were just tons of t-shirts all with a Christian theme. But let me give you the full effect. This will be like those associations on the SAT, only worse. What I am going to do is give a company name....a decidedly well known company name, and then I will give an equals sign, and then show you the Christian rip off of that company's logo that has been tactlessly plastered on these shirts. For example Subway = Hisway. Get it. Good. Hold on tight cause here we go.

1. Got Milk? = Got Jesus? (surprisingly years after this marketing campaign is abandoned by Milk it is still apparently novel to Christians who wear t-shirts.
2. Pentium Inside = Jesus Inside
3. Burger King = King of Kings
4. You Tube = You To Be (with "God wants" on top and "saved on the bottom. So the message is God wants YOU TO BE saved....hurling as I type)
5. Deal or No Deal = either Take the Deal (meaning salvation) or Deal or No Deal followed by "Jesus is the only sure bet."
6. Reebox = Reeborn
7. Arm and Hammer = Armed and Ready
8. Sprite = Spirit
9. Ford = Lord
10. Hersey's = He Saves
11. Staples "The Easy Button" = Jesus "It's Just That Easy"
12. Abercrombie and Fitch - Abreadcrumb and Fish (embarrassing)
13. American Idol = Amazing Grace
14. iTune = I Tune Into God
15. Mountain Dew = Meant to Die
16. Yoo-Hoo = You Who (It was YOU WHO Jesus Died for)
17. Crush = Christ ( that's just plain unimaginative!)

And my personal favorite

18. Myspace = "Jesus died for MYSPACE in heaven.

And seriously I am just scratching the surface here! I could go on but I won't. You know I gotta be honest, I am pretty sure that these shirts step dangerously close to breaking the third commandment. Not to mention that whole copyright infringement thing. And pile it on with a whole slab of silliness (borderline stupidity). But the part that really gets me is that these stores are stacked full of these shirts, and probably making good money because there are plenty of people out there who buy these shirts. Now I won't infringe on a persons right to wear whatever they want, free speech and all....and I definitely don't think of myself as the fashion police. It's the marketing above the mentioned, totally ridiculous shirts in the rack of the store that reads "For the BOLD CHRISTIAN"

Oh man!!! I have failed as a Christian because I refuse to wear some hideous garb that screams "I'm an out of touch, unrealistic, squeaky clean christian who thinks that by wearing this shirt, you will see the light and become glorious redeemed, all the while I don't have to say a word, just keep this goofy shirt on with an equally as goofy smile on my face." OK perhaps I am being too harsh...and I really don't mean to degrade, or even further see myself as "too good" for this stuff. I honestly just don't get it....and I think it is doing more harm than good.

My final case in this needless point is the most marketed shirt in both of these shops. It was hung prominently all over; outside, inside, ceiling, floor, counter. I didn't buy anything, but I suspect that if I did the cashier would've said "Did you want to get one of our best selling and most thought-provoking shirts?" What did the shirt have on it? The following (and I am not kidding:) all on the front:

"Dear God,
Why do you allow all those shootings in the school? Signed, A Concerned Christian

Dear Concerned Christian,
I didn't allow all those shootings. They have kicked me out of the schools?
Signed, GOD"

Yes all of that was on the shirt. Yes I did want to buy them all, take them to a trash dump, and then light a bon fire. Yes I did let out an audible groan. Yes I did shave my head, put on my sackcloth and sit on an ash heap and wail! I don't know that I need to point out all that is wrong with this shirt....but if you are wondering let me know....I'll be working on my doctoral dissertation about it!!

Listen, here's my bottom line. I have a great idea for Christians. Let's skip all the hokey (and sometimes heretical) marketing, and start BEING like Jesus. Let's stop plastering Jesus name on our apparel and start plastering the love of Jesus around our communities and work places by meeting needs, being genuine and authentic, and heaven-forbid engage ourselves in conversations that could lead to the gospel being presented (and I don't mean in a canned FAITH outline....I mean in real relationship, friendship conversation. Let's honor God with our lives. Let's do good works so that people will see Jesus in us, and not just on us. Let's get our hands dirty so that people can, by the power of God through Christ Jesus, have their lives cleaned up. And for the love of pete.....get rid of those shirts!

I am in Gatlinburg for the night, leading worship for the "Young Professionals" retreat for a group from Hilldale Baptist Church in Clarksville, TN. We are staying in an amazing 4-story cabin complete with a pool table and ping pong table, plasma screens in nearly every room, and a theater room with a huge projection screen and lounging better-than-movie-theater style chairs. And thankfully wireless connection so I can blog about this joint.

The group won't arrive for another hour or so, so I thought I would also blog about an occurrence from yesterday. I'll start it with a quote from one of the recent episodes of my favorite TV show Hannah Montana (I know I know) At some dramatic moment in the show, where Mile (aka Hannah Montana.....I know I know), she in desperation cries to her brother "Dad said he was disappointed with me" and her brother replies "NOT DISAPPOINTED, WHY COULDN'T HE BE ANGRY OR MAD?." It's true though, having someone be disappointed in you really seems much worse than mad or angry. I can't recall specific times, but I can imagine how I felt when my parents said they were disappointed in me. And they didn't always have to say it, you could just tell.

Well I experienced that sense of disappointment yesterday. I won't go into great detail, as to make the story a bit more interesting, but I decided to try a different "look" for myself yesterday. Nothing drastic, or permanent, just different. Well I attempted this look without giving Karen any forewarning. So when I came home with my new "look" she saw it, and it took a second, but slowly but surely the look of distinct disappointment came across her face. She didn't say it, but I could feel it, so much so that I could feel myself withdrawing, I could feel my arms drawing up, and hugging around me. I could feel my head start to drop, and my eyes began to search the floor. It's amazing how the opinion of someone you love so much, and that loves you means the most, and how their words can cut the deepest, or lift the highest (and again let me stress that she didn't say anything harsh....she didn't say much at all actually.....). Well, after receiving this reaction, I just wanted to completely disassemble the whole new "look". I wanted to undo what I had done. Unfortunately, though as I said before, it wasn't permanent, but also not immediately reversable. And her look was bad enough but when I finally fought through my new-found venerability enough to look back up at her, she had tears in her eyes......nail in the coffin....I dropped my head again, held out my arms and gingerly walked forward for a hug. I know this isn't typical male response....and I wish i was the type of guy who could just say "well I like it, and I don't care what you think....I know you'll love me anyway" but alas this is not who I am.

Well needless to say, after a very brief discussion, I assured Karen that I would not continue with my new "look" any longer than was possible, and I got a really good sense of what she likes, and doesn't like. And the awkwardness was not prolonged.But I did have the unfortunate sense of knowing what it likes for Karen to be disappointed in me. This is new for me in the 2 and 1/2 years of marriage. I've sensed her frustration with me, maybe even a tinge of anger, and those are easily dealt with. You talk it out. You apologize, you make amends. But disappointment is a sharper knife and has potential to leave a slower-healing wound. That's not to say that Karen is still disappointed with me. I think we resolved the issue.....I am certain that today she has not turned the corner and gladly embraced the "look". But I don't think she holds it against me. And if I were to be honest, I think she is valid to feel the way she felt.

One final observation about those closest to us. When forgiveness is offered or received, and problems are worked out, that's when those relationships reach new levels. It is in time of struggle, disagreement, pain, forgiveness, and healing that intimacy is increased. It is true in personal relationships. It is true in our relationship with God. C.S. Lewis said it great in his book The Problem With Pain when he said "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

I Am America and So Can You

The title of the post is the title of Stephen Colbert's new book, which for any of you that are reading and wondering what to get me for Christmas....this would be a great gift!

I want to take a brief moment to discuss a minor political issue. Now I can guess what you're thinking..."oh Matt please don't go off on the fact that Al Gore and his organization won the Nobel Prize this past weekend for combating a global condition THAT DOESN'T EXIST AND IS MERELY A PLOT TO MAKE MONEY". That'll have to be a topic for another day. Today I want to discuss another issue spurned by something I recently watched on TV. Before I officially begin, I want to first admit that I am sorely undereducated when it comes to politics. There are some big-ticket issues that I know about, and I have a firm stance about several issues that I feel I, by virtue of my faith in Christ, automatically believe. But please be fore-warned that correct political jargon will not be exercised in this post!

Now, what spurned this little pseudo-political blog? Well I just happened to catch a fascinating little interview-turned-debate on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I am not really a fan of the show, but I do like The Colbert Report and I just happened to turn over to Comedy Central a half hour early to catch the aforementioned interview. The guest was former President Bush Press Secretary Tony Snow. As with most television media, Jon Stewart has a liberal slant, and an apparent knack for bashing President Bush. Now I gotta pause here and say that I align myself as a conservative. By that I do not mean that I think that the only way you can follow Jesus is to be a Republican, and I don't think that all Christians are Republicans. Furthermore, I don't think that Republicans have it all together, make all the right decisions, or have somehow in their infinite wisdom and unfathomable power hung the moon. No political party is worth that sort of estimation. This, along with other reasons is why I choose to refer to myself as conservative and not Republican. I'd actually much rather not have to pick between two parties, I'd much rather judge by the representative's character and conviction (I know it's a Utopian dream).
I also have to say that I do not think that President Bush is the end-all-be-all. I guess I just don't have any unreal expectations of a leader of the most powerful nation in the world. I think he is a great leader, I think he has made his fair share of great decisions, as well as some bad decisions. I think some of the policies that his administration has put into place have been great, and some have been horrible. I think he has done a fair job of being President given the circumstances of what we have come to know as a Post-911 world. I think that he has the single most important and hardest job in the world, a job which I myself could not do, and he has treated the Presidency with much dignity, vigour, conviction, and (to use his word) resolve as anybody. I would probably even argue that he restored some of the honor that his predecessor destroyed (but then I don't want to go into all that).

So please understand my thoughts of the President are high, but he's not the Savior or anything. But just to be honest, I am some stinking tired of all the left-wing media bashing of President Bush that is crammed down my throat every time I turn on the television or radio. I'm so sick of all of the attacks not just on the President's decision making, but on his personal character. Again, I realize that he hasn't done everything right, but we at least have to admit that he stands by his convictions, and he is doing what he thinks is best for the country in spite of drastic opposition. That takes guts! Soooooo.....enter Tony Snow on the Daily Show. It's something you need to see, perhaps it is on You Tube by now, but Tony Snow is a man who worked closely with the President. So in typical fashion throughout the interview, Jon Stewart jabs at the President, dubbing him a hard head and a failure. However, in as strong of a response as I have ever seen, Snow defends the President calling him a great leader, citing multiple incidents of his leadership, and even calling Stewart's bluff when he cites failures (which were most out-of-context proof-texts). The question I had to ask myself during the interview was "who am I to believe? A guy who gets paid to get on TV and make fun of any Republican bold enough to be thrust into the public eye, or a guy who used to work for the President closely and has nothing to gain from defending the guy?" I gotta be honest, I'm gonna go with the latter!

The problem is that while I feel like Americans have every right in the world to form their own opinion, I feel like most opinion is the opinion because it is popular, spoon fed to us by a terribly biased media (though for the record I think an un-biased media can only exist in my previously mentioned Utopian world!). I can understand disagreeing on issues, things like the War, or educational policies, or on health care. But disagreements amongst our peers at work or church don't lead us to go and publicly humiliate each other. And they shouldn't lead to that in the political world.

OK, so it is about bed-time and I sense that my ramblings are making less and less sense the more I type. Go check out the Daily Show if it is on You Tube (a responsible blogger would have already found it and linked it for you, but alas I am not a responsible blogger.....). It is really fascinating!

More later!

Last Thursday night, Karen and I attended a dinner party at a friend of ours house with a few other couples. The host couple told us that there would be free food as well as a presentation about the cookware being used to cook said food; no prices discussed, just free food and presentation. That was all it took for me to be interested....because I like food, especially of the free variety...and an innocent little dinner party presentation never hurt anybody right?!?!Well the dinner party was a lot of fun. Great food, good conversation, good company, and some really interesting pots, pans, and methods used to cook.

It was a lot of fun.....that is until we got done eating, and the guy doing the presentation asked each of us as couples when he would come to our house to sell us this cookware. Notice he asked when, not if! Now, one would think that a person with even my limited amount of life experience would have seen this coming....but NO.....I was completely blindside, and frankly unhappy about this demand. While I was adequately impressed by this cookware, it has not ever, nor will it anytime soon, be in my priorities or budget to buy some pots. In fact, I can honestly say that I've never used the term cookware until I was introduced to this..............cookware.

So why didn't I just say no to this guy coming to my house. Well first of all he asked us right in front of the host couple...and in some weird way, for me to say no to this guy seemed like it would be rude to them (oh the leads for proper etiquette we make). Not to mention that no reason, excuse, reservation, medical emergency, or flailing tantrum would have kept this guy from making a "follow-up" appointment (to be read as "forceful thrusting of sale down our proverbial throats"). And not only was he coming, but he was coming tomorrow. I got the feeling he wanted to be at my house to greet me when I got home from work (perhaps had he offered to have another free meal I would have considered it). When that didn't work, and a series of other times were not doable, he asked if he could come just before bedtime----JUST BEFORE BEDTIME.....I wouldn't even ask to be at my closest friends house just before bedtime. And this was a guy who wasn't even a close friend.....and steadily easing his way further into "NOT A FRIEND AT ALL" status! So we finally agreed (begrudgingly) that he could come Saturday morning for his "brief" presentation.

Now to really understand the deep emotion that this sales call brought upon Karen and I, you'd have to understand our personal little history of these type things. It all started about a year ago when someone called and offered to test our water for free. As a reward for allowing this free water test, and brief 30 minute presentation, we would be given a complimentary vacation of our choice. FREE VACATION....almost as good as free food. Well, we had no idea what we were in for.....and after 3 agonizing hours of this guy testing our water, cleaning half of our house, including our cookware, exploring the depth of our tap and bottled water, pushing the sale and NOT taking no for an answer, we got a little pamphlet for our free vacation that turned out to cost us $50 (which by the way, does anybody else realize that $50 is not free!??!?!). We never even took the stinking trip (that would be my fault ). The hardest part was not the presentation, it was figuring out how many different ways we can say the words "no", "we're not interested", "not at this time", "no thank you", "no", "you're crazy", or "get out of my house please it is 9:30 pm and you are just a shade past 2 and 1/2 hours over your time limit and while I am sure your product will give us a longer life and a more clean feeling shower as well as give us a warm tingly feeling inside, all we really, really want is our free vacation if you could just hand that over now and show us the amount of smoke you can generate as your tires squeal out of our driveway we would greatly, greatly appreciate it." I mean it is like pulling teeth....and I mean yanking all of the permanent ones with a set of rusty pliers.

So you can imagine that this experience did not leave a good taste in our mouth's about these little house calls. And you can probably imagine our.......what to call it......reservations....no no.......tentativeness....no no....utter and violent opposition...yes that is it....to this little visit. Karen and I prepared well in advance for the battle that would soon ensue. We practiced our "no's", "no thank you's" and "your crazy's" in the best and most Christ-like possible tone. The one redeeming part of the visit, we would indeed get to see just how much this "cookware" would cost. To spruce it up, we even made a friendly bet on how much one little 1/2 quart cooking pot would cost. I bet $85. She bet $125.

Well it finally came. Go-time. We invited the guy in and had him sit out our table, and after obliging about 2 questions, I politely interrupted our salesmen with a "we're not going to be buying anything today, we don't believe in credit, and we're not interested in throwing a party, we would however love for you to show us the prices of your pots and pans as you head out." Well, after the usual reprehensible sales tactics (which included some doosies like "What would you pay for a riding lawn mower" which I am still trying to see the relation and "what about the health of your kids" that we don't have??) we finally got to the punchline...I mean the bottom line. I'll take our highest bet of $125 and just tell you that it got crushed by a Godzilla-like price of $460 + for a 1/2 quart pot. Even as I type I cannot contain the laughter. And for a whole set (and by a whole set I mean a total of about 5-6 pieces....like a regular box set from Wal-Mart) a whopping $1889. Notice that there is no decimal point...that's right ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED AND EIGHTY NINE DOLLARS FOR SOME POTS AND PANS. Somewhere I missed in the presentation where these post and pans would actually grow the food themselves, cut and clean it, cook it, serve it, ask if I enjoyed it, then clean itself up all the while whistling the most delightful of tunes. I mean that is ridiculous. I know I know there was a lifetime warranty, and it cooks like no other...but come on you people.

To all those who have bought and love this type of pot and pan, I would like to say I mean no offense. It is just not something I would be willing to "invest" in. However, many probably wouldn't pay the amount of money I would for a good guitar either....so I realize it is all relative!

Our friendly pot saler did say one most thought-provoking sentence at sometime during the presentation. That statement --- "We're all selling something" Food for thought!

The unknowable heart...

This will be a short post, but I wanted to quickly share something interesting that happened yesterday. I had the opportunity, or maybe I should say misfortune, of going to a ministerial alliance luncheon yesterday. It wasn't all bad, but just seemed a bit pointless to me. The lunch consisted of ministers from all sorts of Christian denominations; Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Church of God, etc. As you can imagine, there was quite a variety of beliefs and ministry styles represented at this meeting. I was there to help plan a community wide thanksgiving service. At one point during the meeting, the chairman said a striking statement that I have heard before, but to hear it from a minister struck me as bold and overwhelmingly honest. In regards to benevolence, and helping people in need, he said "It is hard to know the human heart". This was said about trying to identify if a persons needs are legit, or if the person is just looking for money to spend inappropriately. He said "It is hard to know the human heart. It's hard to know my own heart a lot of times. Sometimes I think I'd rather go back to be a paper salesman." I'll overlook the obvious reference to The Office that could be made here, and just say how much I appreciate a minister saying that very statement. It IS hard to know the human heart....nearly impossible to know someone else's, and almost as impossible to know my own. To know what my heart really wants, to know where my deepest heart of heart's allegiance lies, it is the mystery of all mysteries sometimes. But then there are those redeeming moments when you feel the deepest desire of your heart bleed through.

The Bible is right when it says "The heart is deceitful above all things, who can know it?"

I recently ran across a web-site that has since become one of my favorites to visit. The site http://www.ccmpatrol.com/ and the tag line is "Where christian music is allowed to get bad reviews." I would encourage you to check it out....though beware, it is pretty sarcastic and pokes a lot of fun at Christian music. It also provides for some of the most thought provoking analysis of "christian" art and music.
I find this site especially interesting as it validates a lot of what I think...selfish I know...but we all identify best with people and things that are most like us. I have to say that I pretty much despise all radio, unless it is talk-radio...but Christian radio is quite possibly the worst. I realize that most Christians who are reading this are now thoroughly disappointed in me right now. But if you really think about what music is (an art form) and how current Christian music compares to not only the world's standard of art, but to the standard of excellent art that spans across history, it is a sad sad picture. And please don't get me started on Christian DJs.....yikes!!

I could go on and on but I'll spare you. I would, however, like to say that this analysis of what we call "Christian" music (which, if you read the title of this blog you'll understand why I have a problem with that term....semantics I know...but still an issue) makes me seriously consider what I do on a weekly basis. While I am securely convinced that musical worship is a God-given, God-honoring method by which we communicate our love, adoration, praise, love and devotion to God, I sometimes think we sacrifice content for our comfort. Consider the lyrics to the top 10 praise songs (and I suspect that your mind immediately goes to Chris Tomlin, as does mine) that you know, or that you may even sing at church. Is there any depth to those lyrics? Is there anything innovative about them? Any great truth communicated? Any affirmation about the character of God (other than he is "awesome")? The truth is that most songs are weak in content, repetitive, uninventive, even (dare-I-say) boring. And the bottom line is that it is just much easier to sing these types of songs. And while it is important to sing songs of joy and praise, sometimes we need to exchange those lyrics with words of confession, words of repentance, words about the intense, deep, hard-to-understand-and-impossible-to-communicate character of God. And can somebody please help me exchange my G-C-D progression for something a bit more complex...anybody?!?!?

I guess all I'm trying to say is that I am learning that art is not always an imperative statement, not always an answer to the question, not an end but a means if I can be so bold as to say that. And good art...God-honoring art cannot be lazy, one dimensional, boring, or easy. Think about great artists (I'm guessing that Chris Tomlin isn't the first person to pop in your mind this time right?!?!). Think about the pain-staking process that Michelangelo went through in painting the Sistine Chapel. Think about the method and the madness of Mozart's, Beethoven's, and Handel's composition, as they would lock themselves away for days, months, sometimes years to compose their great works. Each one not only worked tirelessly in their craft, but poured themselves into their work. If we, as Christians, are going to dabble in the arts, then let us not dabble only, but let us throw ourselves headlong into making something of worth to a God who deserves only the very best that we have to offer. Let us pour ourselves into God-honoring worship through the medium of the arts, no longer sacrificing quality for user-friendliness. And lets once again create that which the culture around us can no longer ignore, that which not only effects the world, but changes it.

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