Vertical THEN Horizontal [Part 3/4]

In the previous blog, we discovered how Adam and Eve messed up in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). The relationship from that point with God was damaged. Didn’t mean that God didn’t continue to love both Adam and Eve, but the relationship status had definitely changed to “It’s Complicated”. Now think about this. God TRUSTED Adam and Eve to follow His command and NOT eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We can deduce that God TRUSTED them because in the first part of Genesis 3:8 (MSG) it says that God was “strolling in the garden in the evening breeze”. To me, this indicates that at some point God was coming BACK to check on Adam and Eve ultimately TRUSTING them to do what He said.

When God’s TRUST in Adam and Eve was broken, the relationship became damaged. So is it any wonder why in our modern day and age that we commit so many resources to finding, mending, or breaking up relationships?

Enter in reality television; the visually broadcasted microcosm of modern day relationships. For those of you who watch reality television shows, think about how many of these events you’ve seen:

Arguments?
Backbiting?
Bickering?
Deception?
Desire for another person’s stuff?
Desire for another person’s spouse or significant other?
Envy?
Fakeness?
Fights?
Immorality?
Lies?
Phony-ness?
Sex?
Shade? (apparently a new term on the block)

…so on and so forth…

It’s not to say that’s the case in every reality TV show everytime, but let’s keep it real. Drama keeps the ratings up and all of the events listed above pretty much equal DRAMA! And for those who may think that reality TV is scripted, I’d be inclined to agree with you… but only to a certain point. I agree that the situations may be staged, but the human interaction is more than likely real because it’s in our “human” nature to give a “human” response even in a staged situation.

But the bigger question is how many of those events are a result of underdeveloped relationships where TRUST is just a word and not a real factor?

Don’t believe the whole “underdeveloped relationships” theory? Allow me to cite precedence. Do you remember this famous reality TV show intro?

“This is the true story… of seven strangers… picked to live in a house… work together and have their lives taped… to find out what happens… when people stop being polite… and start getting real… The Real World.”

Why would seven strangers ever have a reason to TRUST one another? Sounds to me like this starts off with no relationship moving towards an underdeveloped relationship and possibly ending with either (1) a tolerable relationship, (2) an awesome relationship, (3) or no relationship at all (topped off with hatred sprinkles and grudge sauce).

But look at where the relationship starts. Being that the intro credits DON’T say “This is the true story… of seven God fearing, Bible believing, commandment following strangers…” that definitely starts the relationship behind the 8-ball. So I invite you to watch/listen to the intro credits on your favorite reality TV show and see if you can determine whether or not God is/will be in any of it. That will indicate what kind of “relationships” you’re about to observe for about an hour.

Stay tuned. More to come…

(And I’m not picking on “The Real World”. Just using it as an established example.)

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Time to L.E.A.R.N.!

TODAY’S CLIP: Today’s clip is the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” as sung (in harmony with himself) by vocalist Sam Robson. I’ve heard this song sung many times. In fact, I’ve played it many times, but I’ve never heard a version quite like this. This will blow your mind. Check it out.

**And if Sam Robson ever reads this post, just know that this is hands down the best cover of this hymn that I’ve ever heard.

As a musician, 90% of what you do is listening. Music is too much of a universal language to get stuck on one dialect. Therefore, today’s blog is dedicated specifically for you to LISTEN (to the clip provided), EXPAND (your thinking on music in a way that you may not have considered before), AND ROCK NOW (with more musical knowledge added to your repertoire)!

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to this song. The video included in this blog is only intended to bring musical awareness to the reader.

Vertical THEN Horizontal [Part 2/4]

So what do “relationships” have to do with “reality television”? Moreso than that, what does all this have to do with our vertical relationship with God?

Glad you asked. I counter your questions with this reality television script. Check this out:

Father: “Stevie? Stevie? Where are you?”

Stevie: “Oh heeeeey Daddy… so wha ha happened was… I heard you coming through the garden and I got scared because I didn’t have any clothes on… so I hid behind the bushes.”

Father: “Stevie… who exactly told you you didn’t have any clothes on? Did you eat from that tree I told you NOT to eat from?”

Stevie: “Now hold up. This chick Laura that YOU gave me as a girlfriend gave me some bad fruit and sure I ate it but it wasn’t REALLY my fault.”

Father: “Laura?… What have you done?!?!?!?”

Laura: “Ummm… I mean… yeah… I ate the fruit… but it was really a talking snake that tricked me into thinking that the fruit was good to eat… so I ate it… but it really wasn’t my fault either.”

…and scene.

Do you see the makings of a reality television show here? Naked people? Forbidden fruit? The constant blame game where everybody is “justified” in their actions but nobody is accepting the blame for their actions? Well, in case you didn’t know, this scene is a treatment from Genesis 3:9-13–also known as the scripture passage where man messed up paradise on Earth… also known as the original sin.

(just replace “Father” with “God, “Stevie” with “Adam”, and “Laura” with “Eve” and add lots of “thee’s”, “thine’s”, and “thoses-es”)

If you continue reading that chapter, you’ll see where God passes judgement on Adam and Eve for what they did. Ultimately, the rest of the Bible from that point all the way to the Revelation of John on the Isle of Patmos, is the attempt to get back in right standing and right RELATIONSHIP with God.

Stay tuned. More to come…

Vertical THEN Horizontal [Part 1/4]

Could it be that our horizontal relationships with each other are jacked up because our vertical relationship with God is jacked up?

…is the premise that I came to when I was working on this 4-part blog series. I’ve actually been thinking about writing this for a while, but didn’t quite know where to start. Therefore, I will take you through the process, how I arrived to this question, and my thoughts on an answer. The process simply starts here:

I WATCH TV!

Granted, I don’t watch a whole lot of TV because of my schedule, but when I’m home I do like to kick back, relax, and watch a little mind-numbing television. In small doses, it’s ok. As my Uncle would say “Everybody needs a ‘Gomer Pyle’ in their life.” Often times I watch TV with my wife which is a mix of reality television, medical dramas, or scripted shows. If it were up to me it would either be something funny, animated, historical, or science/science fiction. We’re definitely different in our selection of television shows, but the shows that catch my attention the most are the reality TV shows.

Have you ever heard of the phrase “variations on a theme”? That’s what reality shows are to me. You might ask the question “Well, if there’s one common theme between ALL reality TV shows, then what is it? I can’t see how Real Housewives of Atlanta is related to Teen Mom or Preacher’s Daughters or Flava of Love or Preachers of LA or Basketball Wives.”

Glad you asked. In my opinion, the common theme is simple. Relationships.

Stay tuned. More to come…

Time to L.E.A.R.N.!

TODAY’S CLIP: Today’s clip is the old Negro spiritual “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” as performed by The Swan Silvertones (an American gospel male vocal group from the 1940’s-1950’s). I’ve heard this song covered by many, many musical artists, but when I listened to the Aaron Neville version earlier this morning I paid close attention to the words. The lyrics start off with “Oh Mary don’t you weep/ Tell Martha not to moan” and THEN go to “Pharoah’s army/ Drowned in the Red Sea”. For all of my Bible scholars out there in blogland, the first part is referring to a story in the New Testament (Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead — John 11) while the latter part is referring to a story from the Old Testament (the pursuit of Pharoah after Moses and the Israelites — Exodus 15).

I don’t know about you, but to me these are two seemingly disjointed stories. When I did a little research, I found that there was a common theme between the two stories: FREEDOM. The first part was freedom from death. The second part was freedom from oppression. When you take those two factors and place it in the timeframe that this song was most popular (the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s), THEN is starts to make sense.

“Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.” Enjoy!

As a musician, 90% of what you do is listening. Music is too much of a universal language to get stuck on one dialect. Therefore, today’s blog is dedicated specifically for you to LISTEN (to the clip provided), EXPAND (your thinking on music in a way that you may not have considered before), AND ROCK NOW (with more musical knowledge added to your repertoire)!

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to this song. The video included in this blog is only intended to bring musical awareness to the reader.

“Our New Religion” by Arthur Guiterman

I was listening to a lecture by one of the great Christian apologeticists Ravi Zacharias and he incorporated this poem to symbolize where religion in a modern society is heading. Ironically, this poem, by American poet Arthur Guiterman, was published in 1936 which makes it almost 80 years old (78 years to be exact) making it an interesting read especially when comparing it to where modern society is now. In fact, if you didn’t know WHEN this poem was published, you could have attributed it to a modern day poet because it’s still relevant. Read it for yourself and see what you think.

OUR NEW RELIGION by Arthur Guiterman
(from the book “Gaily the Troubadour”)

First dentistry was painless.
Then bicycles were chainless,
Carriages were horseless,
And many laws enforceless.

Next cookery was fireless,
Telegraphy was wireless,
Cigars were nicotineless,
And coffee caffeineless.

Soon oranges were seedless,
The putting green was weedless,
The college boy was hatless,
The proper diet fatless.

New motor roads are dustless,
The latest steel is rustless,
Our tennis courts are sodless,
Our new religion — godless.

St. Patrick’s Day – A Religious Holiday?

You better believe it!

It turns out that St. Patrick’s day started off as a religious remembrance day for the patron saint of Ireland and then turned into more of an Irish cultural celebration. The story is actually quite interesting and goes a little something like this:

Saint Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the “Apostle of Ireland”, he is the primary patron saint of the island along with Saints Brigit and Columba. The dates of Patrick’s life cannot be fixed with certainty but, on a widespread interpretation, he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the fifth century. He is generally credited with being the first bishop of Armagh, Primate of Ireland. When he was about 16, he was captured from his home in Great Britain, and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland. In later life, he served as an ordained bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

To learn more, check out the entire Wikipedia article at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick

BUT for even more information, check out the clips at History.com: http://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day