Monthly Archives: June 2011
What happens when we die?
Do we get halos and harps?
Do we have to join a choir?
Do we all ride round on clouds?
Here’s the thing… I DON’T KNOW!
But here’s what I do know…
You see our bodies here on earth seem to be made up of a couple of parts.
“Today you will be with me in paradise”
Cue the undertaker!!!!
There has been lots of talk about what happens when we die… and more to the point, HEAVEN and HELL.
So over the next couple of days… I’m going to explore a bit My views (and please understand these are my views) on where I think I stand on the whole issue of HELL especially.
So lets do the very first Screaming Goose Series…
HELL… why not! I hear you say!
I’m wanting to look at a couple of things… like for instance
- What happens when we die? … (commonly known as do we get halos and harps)
- Bus ride but no ticket… (What happens to non-Christians)
- Hell (not just stuck in a broken lift listening to only Celine Dion!)
- Would a loving God send good people to hell?
- A Tolerant God love gypsies, tramps and thieves (thanks Cher)
- Hells pretty mean don’t you think??
- Isn’t eternal damnation pretty steep for a parking ticket violation???
- Do people who have never heard of Jesus go to Hell?
- Am I going to Hell?
- It’s all about the soul… so what the heck is my soul?
This year looks like it will be a year where I will have to say farewell to a few good friends and family members.
So what do you do, and what do you say… and what do you write in a time of loss? Especially to those left behind.
In the book The Art of Condolence: What to write, what to say, what do do at a time of loss. By Leonard M. Zunin, MD, & Hilary Stanton Zunin… they list a few tips.
Here are the key components for writing a letter.
- Acknowledge the loss, say how you heard the news
- Express your sympathy. Do not hesitate to use the word ‘death’ or note the actual cause of death.
- Note special qualities about the deceased. They may be personal characteristics for example, courage, leadership, or decisiveness.
- Recount a memory about the deceased. Early in bereavement, memories of the deceased are often temporarily dimmed. This can be frightening for those in grief. Relate a brief anecdote or two.
- Note special qualities of the bereaved. The bereaved will typically experience a transitory impairment in their usual capacity for self-appreciation. It can be helpful to recall a loving remark about the survivor that was once made by the deceased.
- Offer assistance. Make a specific offer (doing the grocery shopping, running errands etc…)
- Close with a thoughtful word or phrase.
Today I got news that a good friend had passed away during the night.
I was gutted… she was a great family friend, I was left feeling hollow…
When someone dies it’s hard not to think about your own mortality isn’t it. Things like:
Is that it?
Is death the finish?
Does death win in the end?
Is death ‘it’ after leading this life?
Do we believe there is more?
I don’t think death is it…
I don’t think death is final…
I think death… is the beginning.
You see once a year we sing songs about a victory over death… a victory that made a way for us to live for eternity if we choose to accept it.
“But that’s just stories… that’s just religious hoo haa” you may say.
It’s something more than just stories… or religion… it’s history. You see when you start to read the stories in the Bible about the death of Jesus they are littered with descriptions that aren’t in other story of it’s type from that time… they are filled with eye-witness descriptions… and then just when you think, they could have been added later… you then have to contend with the HUGE fact that at least 500 people saw a resurrected Christ.
They had seen him die… just a few days earlier… and now he was alive. Walking… Talking… BREATHING…
Jesus had defeated DEATH…
We shouldn’t just be singing about it at Easter time… we WIN!
WE win… as we live this life we are on our way to freedom if we choose to accept it.
The wages of SIN is death…
All you need to do is take off your SIN baggage… give it to the ONLY one who can take that dirty past away from you and give you a new life… a life that leads you to the beginning.
The Novelist Chuck Palahniuik once said “The first step to eternal life… is you have to die”
And I would have to agree…
- The difference is he rose again… (screaminggoose.wordpress.com)
I love New Zealand music… Its great because unlike the music that comes out of the USA or UK, it isn’t scared to bring in styles from all walks of life.
So with that in mind you can understand why I was excited by the prospect of Jon Toogood, doing a solo album… especially when there was talk of it being stuff that didn’t fit on a Shihad album.
Well the intention was a solo album, what ended up happening is the birth of New Zealand’s own (and maybe the first) super-group.
So who are ‘The Adults’… well apart from Jon Toogood (Shihad) there are Shayne Carter (Dimmer), Julia Deans (Fur Patrol) , Tiki Taane (Salmonella Dub), Anika Moa & Ladi 6, as well as a few others… from a kiwi stand point this is a great group.
Ok… so what’s the MUSIC on the album like???
To be honest… it starts off like a stripped back Shihad album… “Yes!!” I hear the little metal-heads shouting… sit that little mullet head of yours down… the rest of the album is a bit different.
The thing that really makes this album great is the fact that there are so many different sounds and different voices that can be heard, it’s almost more like a NZ music soundtrack, than a solo album or a ‘band’ album.
The Main highlights are… The sonic soul stomper that has been made famous by YouTube is the Ladi-6 lead track ‘Nothing to loose’… this is by far the stand out track on the whole album, it drives and is just DARN COOL!
The duet with Julia Deans for ‘Anniversary Day’ is just a really nice well written song… and a real “Awwwww” moment along with the Anika Moa lead song ‘Sleep me Tight’.
There are a couple of songs that sound like they could have been of a Headless Chickens album in ‘Up and Gone’ and ‘Long way off’ … (so for those that are playing at home Shihad + Dimmer = Headless chickens apparently)
This is a great album… that is different enough to be interesting, like I said earlier… it reminds me of a NZ soundtrack album, all the songs sound like they fit together like a movie does a story line… however it doesn’t sound like just one band…
Have a listen… it’s good.
This could be the album that get you through winter… and help Canterbury learn to rock again!
8 1/2 out of 10
Thanks to my friends at The Well I have been thinking about community.
For me when it comes to anything to do with community or church I go straight to one of my favourite books of The Bible… the Book of Acts.
Acts is great because it’s about the start of the church before we got ‘organised’ and put structures in place… which in turn became rituals or habits (but that’s a whole new blog)… and church wasn’t about a building it was about ‘ecclesia’ a group of people… a community and the cool thing is they came together over one thing… the resurrection of Jesus. These were people from ALL walks of lives, and they were bound together in community.
Now in this day and age when people start to talk about community they talk about sharing everything… their house, their possessions, they give things to the poor… then for the more focused they start to talk about going ‘green’ and making fuel from banana skins and only wear hemp… and then it starts to turn a bit… hippie.
Now please hear me… I think we should do everything to save our planet for the next generation… however it seems to me that it starts to be less about community and more about the effort we put in.
Acts 2:42-47 gets bandied about ALOT during these topics.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Now think about it.
And now think about it in terms of your community… would you ‘break bread’ or share a meal with someone you have never met before, or maybe someone you started talking to in a queue???
It says “the Lord added to their number daily” … now I don’t think it meant that random people just starting lining up outside peoples houses. It would seem to me that it was the community engaging with the world outside… and if you think about it, it would look pretty messy.
The reality is that people want to live in community… but they only relate it to people they know.
They live with people they know… they eat with groups they know… they talk about issues in their lives with people they know….
that’s not real community… that’s just being clicky.
That is actually US and THEM… something that the people who fight for community say they are against.
You may share your house, share your possessions etc… but you need to be in THE community for the Lord to start adding to it.
When you’re at church… how often are you seeking out someone you don’t know? Because when we’re living in community we need to get out of our comfort zone… and we’re starting to meet others… all the time.
It can’t be about when we choose, and when it suits us…
Community is ALL the TIME…
Community is MESSY…
and Community is sometimes PAINFUL.
When you continue to read through the rest of Acts you start to see splinter groups, following Paul… you start to seeing the need for meeting to clear things up… and you start to see that community isn’t as easy as some people might think!
- The difference is he rose again… (screaminggoose.wordpress.com)
Everyone knows that former Destiny’s Child front woman Beyoncé has a great voice… the girl doesn’t sing… she ‘sangs’ she has power, she has the range, and the moves to match…
So Beyoncé has a lot to live up to as her last album ‘Sasha Fierce’ boasted at least 4 singles that made it into the top 10 around the world (If I were a boy, Single ladies, Sweet Dreams and ’Halo’)…
So what does the album ’4′ have to offer…
Well due to a series of leaks lots have people have pretty much heard the whole album…
Tracks like the Prince tinged ‘Party’ produced by Kanye West and featuring Andre 3000 (outkast)… and the Boyz II Men infused track ‘Countdown’… have been easy to find on the net well before they were even mentioned as part of a Beyoncé new album.
To be perfectly honest this is a really really honest R&B album… with all the soul, and heart that you would expect from a classic soul record… As I listened to the album a couple of times I thought… this song could have been a classic mo’town track.
Beyoncé certainly tips her hat to some of the classics like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder & the Stylistics all classic R&B sound’s mixed with her obvious ear for what works for her doing her best Lauryn Hill, Aretha Franklin and Adele.
Beyoncé chose to start off the album with a really stripped back track ’1 + 1′ singing “Make love to me”… this is great as it really sets the tone for the album as a classic R&B album… maybe Beyoncé is vying to knock Barry White off his perch as the number 1 artists to make love to.
The world was introduced to the new album with the release of ‘Run the World (girls)’ and it’s drum heavy arrangement after a series of leaked segments (and eventually the whole song) hurried the release date… ironically this single is the least like the rest of the album, and if we are going to be honest it’s not the best Beyoncé track that she’s ever released… although it would have given her heaps of $$$ due to the club lovin’ beats.
To get a better feel of the album the second single ‘Best thing I never had’ is a better gauge, and has that real Babyface style feel to it’s songwriting and arrangement… think of that early R&B style like R&B groups like New Edition, Tony Toni Toné.
This album is summed up with just a few sentences… a great classic R&B album that is firmly rooted with one foot in the past standing on the shoulder of giants… while firmly striding forward to R&B’s new destiny.
If you’re tired of the watered down pop R&B that is dominating the charts at the moment… then this is the remedy for you.
There are so many people in the world who are ‘fans’ of Jesus and his words…
People who are fans of the good works he did…
People who are fans of what he achieved…
A fan wants an someone they can go to every now and then, you know when they want something from them… they’ll be friendly and maybe even in awe of that someone… the problem is once they are gone, the connection is over.
The person goes on to live their life and the fan relives their life… sure it may now be a bit better with a photo on the wall, a signature or even an article of clothing… but someday the buzz wears off and you move on to your next idol…
Fame is fleeting…
You can be a fan of a lot of things
A fan of a band, a sports team, writer, a public speaker… but they have fame only in seasons, segments of your life.
A follower wants a relationship.
Once you decide to follow you choose to give something up… and because you’re working towards a relationship, it soon becomes a two way street.
But here is the really cool thing… you are the follower of someone who not only wants a relationship but he wanted to have a relationship with you first… even before you choose to have a relationship with him.
A fan may get glimpses into the life of a famous person… fan clubs/twitter/Facebook… etc
But a follower… someone with a relationship gets to be part of the exciting life of the famous person…
And do you know what? In the case of Jesus… you get to be apart of that family.
- You DO NOT need more training… (screaminggoose.wordpress.com)
The wisest person who ever lived (King Solomon) once said
“ Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23
I always thought that it meant what was going in… so in other words, if someone says stuff that hurts you don’t take it to heart… be careful what you read because it could corrupt your heart…
You know that sort of thing.
But then it dawned on me… what if it ALSO meant guard what is coming OUT of your heart.
Sometimes it seems to be easier to guard your heart from what goes in…
But sometimes people rub your up the wrong way… or frustrate you… or you’re tired… and BAM something is unleashed, you tell them what you REALLY think.
So what just happened there????
Something in your heart… popped out your mouth!
Luke puts it like this:
“What you say flows from what is in your heart” Luke 6:45
You may have had things lurking deep down inside your heart for ages… and it only surfaces now, when you least expect it…
When your guard is down…
Guard your heart… with what goes IN and OUT.
So what do you do when you feel these feelings?
Well first of all name it… what is it?
What is it that got under your skin?
Once you’ve named it, then when it is appropriate bring it to the light… tell someone you trust about it. You see when you keep things to yourself then you’re keeping it in the dark, and if it’s in the dark… it’s been given power.
Once it’s in the light and you’re dealing with it… it starts to loose it’s power… it might not happen straight away, but it will slowly start to happen.
Guard your heart…
- Everything is meaningless (screaminggoose.wordpress.com)
In their song ‘December’ Collective Soul once said ”Don’t throw away your basic needs… ambiance and vanity” and it would seem that Eddie Vedder has been taking some of that advice, creating an album that gives ambiance while fueling his vanity.
As a bit of a rest from his day job ‘Pearl Jam’ Eddie has gone for something completely different… while Pearl Jam is known for it’s ‘grunge’ based tunes ‘Ukulele Songs’ is… well a man singing to Ukulele songs. Think of it has Eddie Vedder sharing his new songs round a camp fire and you get close to what this album is all about. almost like one man stripped back versions of Pearl Jam songs.
Just because it’s a stripped back album doesn’t mean that Eddie is going to let go of any of his dark thoughts and self loathing but in songs like ‘Satellite’ Eddie shows that he can craft a love song too.
The album is already making waves in countries like Australia buying it in bundles making it to the Top of the Australian country charts.
For me this album just started to sound the same… as one commentator put it… one man his thoughts and a ukulele. It starts to come across as completely self indulgent… and maybe that’s what Eddie needed after decades of writing for a band.
The album finishes with the ukulele stalwart song ‘Dream a little dream’ made famous by the Mama’s & the Papa’s in 1968… but to be honest it sounds like a whiskey fueled man slurring his way through a classic.
You’ll love this song if you’re a fan of the new dirty folk sounds that are becoming popular these days… or if you are a huge Pearl Jam fan looking to fill your collection.