The Election Special

To answer your first question (which I am sure you are all asking) NO this post is not about Calvinism, or Reformed Theology, whichever you'd like to call it. It is, however, about the upcoming debaucle our entire country is in the throws of; that which we are calling an election. I have mentioned before that I am not really politcally inclined. I have my opinions about government, policy, and important issues. But I'm not the type to get involved in local or national politics. In fact, I didn't even vote in the last Presidental election (before you flog me for not exercising my American obligation, I was in the midst of a major move from Georgia to Alabama and did not get registered in time!). However, I just need to speak my peace about this election year, our country, and the prospect of a new President.

First of all, I am extremely tired of politicians. Not that we don't all do it at some time in our life, but man is it me or do the folks on Capital Hill ever do anything but talk out of both sides of their mouth. They say one thing, vote another, and then say they didn't do either. They do not represent the population, no matter what state they are from or for. I am sure there are some exceptions to the rule, but for the most part my perception is that politicians are money-hungry, power-mongering, good-for-nothing, puppetiers (or is that puppets? Can you say lobbiest? Sure! I knew that you could!) who do more harm than good. Furthermore, so many of them lack any personal integrity that even if they did say they stand for something worthwhile, their moral failures disqualify them from carrying any clout for that issue (Bill Clinton, John Edwards, et all!). I'm not trying to be judgemental. Sure we all have our faults. None of us are innocent. But there is such a thing as accountability, integrity, honor, and respect that American politicians seem to know nothing of, much less possess.

Consider all that with the fact that we are just about to elect the next leader of the free world, and we have some major issues on our hands. Perhaps what is worse is that we basically get two choices....two. That is two men to pick from for the over 303 million people that live in the United States alone. Oh sure, you can write in a vote...for yourself even. But let's be honest, there are two parties, two choices. And I don't know if you watch the news or listen to the radio, but our choices.....they're not so good. Barak "messiah" Obama, who for all intents and purposes is a Communist (he basically said China has it going on....need he say more?!?!? At least he's admiting's the first step you know!) , and has now added Joe "Big Talker" Biden as his vice president vs. John "Incompetent" McCain, who for all intents and purposes is incompetent. Oh sure McCain said all the right things that we God-loving, right-wingers love to hear. But I am afraid all he was doing was saying what we God-loving, right-wingers want to hear (which for the record, I'm not sure Jesus would be a Republican! Gasp!) Given the two choices, I'll take....let's see.....Canada, Mexico, Jamaica anyone?!?!?!

In all honesty, I am extremely thankful for my freedom, and I think we live in the best country in the world. All governmental systems this side of heaven are flawed, and ours is no different. It's just that I think we are headed in the wrong direction. I know I personally do not feel like I will be represented by either of the two men running. However, I am left with a choice. Either I write in a vote for someone who I completely believe in.....which would basically be like not voting at all. Or I have to vote for McCain simply on the premise of trying to help keep Obama out of the White House if for no other reason than in an attempt to end this genocide we've disquised as a woman's "right" to choose (or as I like to call it, a woman's right to murder), which by the way, if you listen carefully, and give just a passing glance at his record, you'll see Obama is apparently all for genocide! (If you haven't already, check out how he voted on the "Born Alive" bill).

There is a silver lining here, which supersedes all the flaws and potential and impending failures of our government. Romans 13:1 says "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."

Though things look grim, God is completely in control. Things may not go like we think they should in this world. In fact, the United States may crumble completely (don't say I didn't tell you so), but God is sovreign! In that, we have hope and complete assurance that better days are to come (though we may have to wait until we get to heaven!!)Take heart! For Christ-followers, it only gets better!

So I subsribe to a particular blog, written by a worship leader in New Mexico. I'm not sure how I even found his blog but I did...and he is the one who turned me on to the song Healer that I recommended in my last post.

Well, on that blog the guy posted today that the writer of Healer who professed to suffer from cancer was actually a fraud. He has now publically stated to his church and family that it was all a lie, and that he did not have cancer!

I just found out and am totally stunned....disappointed....hurt even. I'm trying to decide whether or not to even use that song anymore. It is still a powerful song. But one that is based on a lie? It's wierd. I feel so's really a shame!

The Song of the Day

Seldom do I come across something like this, but today I found a song that caused me to think about a couple of things in regards to music in general, and perhaps more specifically in regards to congregational worship music.

The first thought I had was that I liked this song on the first listen. I usually gravitate toward music that is a little less straight forward, and that usually takes a few listens to form an opinion about. I tend to enjoy a song to have layers that can be discovered after many plays. Don't get me wrong, there is merit in a good catchy tune, or a first-listen-winner-pop-song or what have you. But I like for music to be a bit more than just all the hype with no substance after several listens. In fact, most pop-songs that make it to radio get on my nerves after the second or third play.

However, today I heard a song that grabbed from the first listen, but for different reasons that just a catchy melody or a memorable line. The song is called Healer by Hillsong. It is on their newest record entitled "This is Our God". You can watch the song here . The guy you see reading the scripture wrote the song the day he received word that he had an aggressive form of cancer. After watching the youtube video of the story behind the song (which has been removed due to copyright regulations), the song just meant that much more. It has been an instant hit to me, not only because the music is great, or even because the lyrics are really amazing (the chorus really is), but because I got to see firsthand the heart behind the song.

This led me to my next thought. As a worship music leader, it is my responsibility to pick meaningful music for our congregation that exalts God and engages our congregation. However, I have to filter music through a biblical theology and through an understanding of the congregation that will be singing it so that the music accomplishes the goal it is intended to. I also like to pick music that is artistically credible. I would say I think that is one major criticism I have about modern praise and worship music. Chris Tomlin is great, and is a great worship leader. I even believe he sings some amazing songs about the character, greatness, wonder, and splendor of God. But lets be honest, his songs are far from artistic masterpieces. What they lack in that area though, they make up for in congregational accessibility (which is my main defense for singing many of his songs). But I think many times his songs, and many like it, lack to story behind them.

At this point, it would probably be helpful to let you know that I typically stay away from songs that focus on me, or talk about my problems, my singing, my commitment, and lean more toward songs that are about God, who he is, his loving-kindness, his holiness, etc. My rational is that our main purpose is to glorify and magnify God, so let's sing about him in the truth of his word. That is a point I believe in strongly and will not back down on.

However, many times those songs that we sing that are biblically sound, and often even straight from scripture seem as though they are missing something (not to say that scripture or God is lacking....hear me out for a moment). They may even come off as trite and repetitive. While I think that songs that display a solid theology and even teach about God should be more prevalent in worship, there must also be a healthy balance of songs from our individual situation and heart that we offer as a response to God. For instance, after hearing Healer the second or third time I thought for a minute that it was too me-focused. However, I then remembered that we have several people in our congregation who are battling cancer. I remembered that we have one or two families who have just recently lost a family member. We have people who's close family and friends are dealing with cancer and disease. And I knew the song would meet many of us right where we are as a congregation, and allow us to apply the words of that song as a praise from our heart to God.

I think there has to be a balance, because after all we are responded to God. Our dealings with God are in a relationship context. We talk to God, he talks to us (not audible most of the time, but through his Holy Spirit) we give to God, he gives to us (albeit our giving is quite disproportionate!) we show love to God and he shows love to us, and so on. While I agree completely that God is holy, indescribable, unattainable, etc., I also know that God became a man so that he COULD be attained, so that he could be grasped, so that we could be redeemed and have a relationship with him. So that being reality, then as we worship, I think it is completely appropriate that we address him within the context of the relationship.

For example, in my relationship with Karen, if all I were to do is tell her how great she is, how pretty she is, how I love her personality, and so on, that would make her feel good for a while, but the relationship would be lacking because I've not at any point let her in on who I am. All I've done is just showered her with words of praise. In order for our relationship to function properly, I must also let her in on my thoughts, dreams, ambitions, struggles, frustrations, and other feelings, all while keeping my priorities straight (not focusing too much on myself). While I realize the comparison is a bit inadequate, we must remember that God has shown deep interest in knowing our thoughts, both positive and negative. Thus, he commands us to pray, asks us to cast our burdens on him, and commands us to sing to him. So as we worship, I think we have to remember the context in which we address God, keeping Him in his rightful place high above ourselves, but also remembering that because of the high price of Jesus, we can interact with God in a humble, yet personal manner. I think that songs like Healer are altogether appropriate in a congregational worship gathering.

Ok, so this blog wasn't intended to be a theological defense for songs from a personal standpoint. It was really just intended to tell you to do yourself a favor and go listen the Healer.So do it!

Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.Psalm 96:1-5


This will be a bit random, but I felt like I needed to update everyone on everything. I was actually trying to spruce up the page a bit. I read a good many blogs, and I'm always thinking that their layouts and gadgets and widgets and digits are better than mine. So I tried to make mine better, but have decided that I like mine plain, and I'll just change the colors from time to time! Enough of that!

This week I finished up a class I had taken in the summer. I had to do close to 80 pages worth of book reviews, reflections, and research papers. I turned in my 20 page final project yesterday with a huge sigh of relief only to realize that I start Fall semester on Monday! I've been going literally non-stop since January, as I have taken every winter, spring, and summer break workshop class that has been offered. Of course the workshops are only one week of class time, but they require 4-6 weeks of pre and post work assignments. I will continue to go to school non-stop until July in effort to wrap this school thing up....for now at least. I am set to technically graduate in May, though I will have one last class left in July.

Karen has been working night shift at the hospital for a solid 3 months now and things are going well I would say! She has some hard nights, and of course it is long hours, but I think she is an amazing nurse and she'll only get better! I also suspect that she won't work the hospital floor all of her least I hope not! Things are good though, and she turned a whopping 25 yesterday!

Howard is as crazy as ever. I don't think she knows what to do now that somebody is in bed most all hours of the at night, and Karen during the day. She seems to be confused...but then I don't think I've known Howard to ever not be confused!

In the near future I hope to post my second edition of summer movie reviews. I saw some really great ones (Dark Night anyone?!!??!) and a few bad ones (Mighty Ducks was on TV). And I saw some that I wanted to review but am having trouble remembering which ones that were at the present time. I suppose it wasn't a great movie if I can't remember seeing it huh??

Hope all is well with you, faithful blog readers!

Later on!

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