Category Archives: Random
just a random thought
Today we celebrate Mothers day.
Now it has to be said Mothers have one of the hardest jobs that you can have… not only do they have to carry the baby inside them for 9 month (while it takes first pick of all the nutrients etc…), they then have to give birth to him/her, and from that point on they are assigned to a full time job with no weekends EVER… In fact there is as saying that says
“Yay it’s Friday, the weekend is finally here… oh wait… that’s right I’m a MOTHER”
Isn’t that true… and lets be fair how many Mothers still had to make their own dinner and tidy their houses for their family today? (guys you really need to step up!)
As much as I think days like Valentines day have been “Hallmarked” to sell as many cards as possible… Mothers day is one I will happily buy into.
However there is a trend in our society that is getting darker and stronger… and I wonder how good it is for our society as a whole.
Women are now choosing to their job over their children… in other words they are choosing to let someone else raise their child.
Now I understand that in some cases a mum going back to work is a necessary thing… Mortgages, rising bills costs etc… and then all of a sudden you get pregnant… It’s hard…I understand this.
What my issue is that women are so intent on being shoulder to shoulder with men in society that they are BECOMING like men, and that’s not a good thing.
It used to be that the Mother stayed home and raised the child… taught it the values that the family had and gave the children boundaries that they used as building blocks in life.
The Father went to work and brought home enough money to keep the family clothed and feed and pushed them to excel and stand up for themselves… however in today’s society there is such a sense of entitlement that all this has been left in the gutter.
Today parents want the new house, the new car, they want to use the degree that they spent time and money working on… but you see once you start to look at it like this you start to notice… it’s about ME.
I want a new car…
I want a new house…
I want a holiday…
(and sure you can come up with 50 reasons to justify your decision but the reality is still the same isn’t it???)
The role of a Mother is far to valuable to throw away as a part time job…
A Mother is the hub of a family group.
With the trend to work instead of home… what ends up happening is the Mother always loses.
She may work hard and get all the way to the top of her field… but when you talk to a lot of these people they will tell you about the sense of guilt they had letting someone else raise their kid…
Someone who doesn’t have the same values… someone who doesn’t have the same beliefs… and a lot of what they end up doing is buying things with the kids in mind, taking them places, buying them things, filling the weekend with the things they couldn’t do in the week to make up for the time they didn’t spend with their children…
When all the child wants… is time with their Mama!
You see they are cheating on their child… running away with work.
We’re all cheating time from someone… who are you stealing your time from?
And then on the other hand…
You have the Mother at home… working hard to raise their child, not having the same amount of money, meaning they have forfeited the new house, they have passed by the new car, they have to wait for that holiday. They are helping give their child the tools they need to live as a valuable member of society as a member of their family group.
However… they still feel like a loser, they’re guilty because they can’t support the family (especially if they’re living on a lower income), they are aware they’re letting their degrees and study go to waste as they spend time up to their waste in nappies and snacks and laundry.
Around this time of year I’m reminded of the famous story of a nun who worked in a men’s prison.
One day, she said, a prisoner asked her to buy him a Mother’s Day card for his mother. She did, and the word traveled like wildfire around the prison. Deluged with requests, she called Hallmark Cards, who obliged with huge boxes of Mother’s Day cards as a donation. The warden arranged for each inmate to draw a number, and they lined up through the cell blocks to get their cards.
Weeks later, the nun was looking ahead on her calendar, and decided to call Hallmark again and ask for as many Father’s Day cards, in order to avoid another rush. As Father’s Day approached, the warden announced free cards were again available at the chapel. To the nun’s surprise, not a single prisoner ever asked her for a Father’s Day card.
Fathers who are not an active part of their families often leave a child wounded by absence–emotional as well as physical.
And it’s harder to recognize than others. However what often happens is it leaves women who may feel the need for physical intimacy that they have never felt from a guy before… women who have never known what a love from a guy should look like… If you have a look in society you will find that this is leading to so many unplanned pregnancy’s.
Or guys who have never been taught how to treat the opposite sex so a young boy thinks that being a man means the need for fast sex, to drink large amounts of alcohol, which then often leads to isolation and sometimes violence. No wonder our prisons are bulging.
Yet the scary thing is that even the average, law-abiding man today hasn’t had a father who said, “You’re my son and I love you,” or who helped him discover his unique talents and abilities. It would be too easy for a young boy to mis-focus his muscles, intelligence and energies destructively instead of creatively.
Yet this is often what Women are wanting for their children… wanting for themselves.
They are wanting to be more like men…
They want to run away and leave their families to be brought up by someone else…
But here’s the thing.
It’s the women who are actually holding our communities together…
It’s just that the society has chosen things like Money and Jobs and Degrees and success to be the measurements of what it means to be a good person… and ‘just being a mum’ falls way down the list and way of societies radar.
If you want to REALLY succeed in society being a great mum is the best thing you could do… both for your child… and your wider community
Mothers I tip my hat to you.
You have the hardest job in the world… it’s often the least rewarding… but I have a sense that if this was removed from our society (as we are already seeing) it all starts to fall apart.
Don’t give up on becoming a great mum …
Sometimes there are books that come to you at EXACTLY the right time… you read them and large parts of the book seem to resonate with you.
For me one of those books was ‘The Ragamuffin Gospel’ by Brennan Manning.
I grew up in a Christian family and I knew about Gods grace however I never really ‘got’ it… I knew the theory of it, I just don’t think I fully understood it.
It wasn’t until I was probably in one of my lowest places spiritually and mentally that this book was placed into my lap and for the first time I think the switch clicked for me… for the first time I had a glimpse… a look into the fact that God gives his grace no matter what we have done or how bad we are now… or how screwed up we feel… God’s grace is enough to cover ALL of that.
He loves me… ME!
Even when I know that I’ve screwed up… even when I’m in the middle of screwing up… ME… he loves me.
“Jesus spent a disproportionate time with the poor, the blind the lame the lepers, the hungry, the sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, the persecuted, the captives, those possessed by unclean spirits, people who knew nothing about ‘the law’, the crowds, the little ones, the least, the last and the lost sheep of the house of Israel”
The book ‘The Ragamuffin Gospel’ changed the way I viewed God in a lot of ways…
Now I can’t say I agree with everything Brennan has to say, however I can honestly say that Ragamuffin Gospel gave me the direction I needed, the tools I needed and the breath of life into the Gospel that I needed, and it all happened just when I was getting tired of the same old Church routines.
And so… it’s sad to hear that Brennan passed away yesterday (12/04/2013)
Thank You God for allowing Brennan into our lives and I know through this book specifically he touched many many lives, not just mine.
I’m a firm believer that the music that’s in the church should sound like the music that’s being played outside the church only the lyrics are uplifting and God focused… this follows the tradition of people like Martin Luther who used pub songs as the melodies for his hymns or William Booth when he used the Brass band (The Rock band of the day).
Ian Yates seems like he’s standing on the shoulders of these giants when he gives us ‘Really Good News’ or what you could call ‘Good News 1.5′ as it is a follow up EP right on the heals of his last release ‘Good News’.
Now this isn’t a bad thing… it’s almost like Ian is saying “we released our album ‘Good News’, but we couldn’t wait for you to hear some of the new stuff we were working on”.
The great thing about this EP is that it follows on perfectly from the album ‘Good News’, a lot of EP’s of this nature are like random songs that are thrown together and called an EP to bridge a gap between full length albums.
Ian’s strength is his ability to find great melodies and take fairly big subjects and make them simple for people to understand.
I mean it’s one thing to be able to pick up a great melody… but to have a great melody with a lyric that will stick in your brain is a much harder task… however it’s something that Ian manages to do with great ease and then like a magician he also adds this dance type feel to some of the tracks bridging the gap between church and club, chapel and pub… this is the easy part… the hard part is maintaining the gaze on the creator of it all… and Ian’s focus is firmly fixed on him.
All through the album Ian fights this great tension between dance-able poppy church music and something that’s more meaningful… there are times when Ian seamlessly crosses from pop/rock to a kind of dub-step feel (like in Heavens Open) the really cool thing is that he does it well, and by that I mean is that it doesn’t feel forced or out of place.
The message could have been really easily lost in the ideas of the music however the music seems to push the ideas of the songs further… and that’s how it should be.
I like a worship album with tension… the wrestle with the music and lyrics that unmask the emotion of the things we want to say but don’t know where to start.
Ian gives you words simple and true “All we are is found in you” and then gives us a platform in which to direct them to the God he wants to turn your eyes to.
The bottom line is if you are into worship music that you want to sing along with, be challenged by and have songs where you understand what you are actually singing about because all of the church jargon has been removed and replaced with words we actually use… then make sure you check out this EP… and even better… it’s FREE… or you can even pay for it if you think it’s an artist you feel like you should support, because he’s just that good.
Check out the EP HERE… you won’t be disappointed!
I listen to a lot of music from around the world, and there is still something exciting about finding something new in your own back yard and ‘Death to Birth part 1′ is no exception, from Corban Samuels the alter ego of Christchurch musician Sam Reed in New Zealand.
As the title might suggest this album is dark… however it’s not in a spooky way but in a way that is beautiful almost even magical… Hallow.
It’s almost easier to think of the album in the same way that you would describe a movie: Just like a director like Tim Burton makes Halloween or death seem like something that shouldn’t be feared, Sam takes a huge dark subject and slowly opens the lid to this new world.
For the first album Sam is taking a huge leap and on this concept album and you’ll find yourself being drawn into this world that on the surface seems so dark, however you slowly discover how deep each shade of grey really is in his place.
Sam is really smart with the way he has structured this album…
The album builds and meanders through this dark world that he has created, and while it’s dark you can’t help but look around the next dark corner wondering what is hiding there.
The album starts off with a haunting sound that builds slowly as Sam’s hauntingly melodic frail vocals narrate the beginning of the story “Death to birth…”
D.T.B. starts off at a somewhat comfortable pace and tone and that’s a good thing and it makes sense considering that this is the beginning of the journey… both for the concept album series and for Sam himself.
The album reaches a somewhat disturbing climax when you reach the track the Dark Vault where you hear the cries of a young woman… not just crying… pleading for help… it’s uncomfortable to listen to… it’s hard to hear… it leaves a lump in your throat… and then the album takes a new unexpected turn.
It’s almost like watching a horror movie, you’re expecting to be frightened at some point, you are expecting to be given goosebumps, but truly great directors will keep that under wraps until you get comfortable… and that’s exactly what Sam does here.
The whole timbre of the album changes with other instruments making a more active lead… the guitars take on a rawer sound… the album become less synth based and take on a more organic sound… and just as you feel that you want to hear more… the album stops… Well played Sam, well played… we’re looking forward to the next installment.
I’ve heard Sams vocals compared to Tom Yorke’s (Radiohead) and while that would be accurate it most likely sits somewhere between Tom Yorke and Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie…
Now… this album is certainly not for everyone… it’s dark… it’s moody… it’s brooding and it has the bravado of a truly Indie album.
This however is a great first effort from Sam… and if the next installments of Death to Birth start off how this album ends then we are in for an exciting series of concept albums.
You can listen to Sams album HERE… where you can have a listen and then you can buy it… and if you’re a fan of bands like Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, Tool and even David Crowder Bands more experimental tracks (Like sequence 1-7 from their ‘Give Us Rest’ album) then it may be worth downloading and taking the ride.
If you look at the amount of songs that Chris Tomlin has in churches around the world you would have to say that he’s at the top of his game… he’s had some great songs the a lot of churches are using week after week as part of their worship. You could almost say that we are in the Tomlin era as far as worship music in church goes.
In the Southern Hemisphere we’ve been through the Hillsong era, the Redman era and now you could say that for some churches if there isn’t a Tomlin song you may think that something is wrong.
Now I have to be honest I have found the last couple of Tomlin albums a bit bland, now don’t get me wrong Chris always produces album with great singles on it, there are always great ‘church’ songs… however I was hoping that we would see more of Chris’ creativity on this album and the start of Burning Lights got me a little excited… The first track ‘Burning Lights’ is a mainly instrumental track and what follows is ‘Awake my Soul’ featuring Christian rap artist Lecrae. Ok, I love people who push the boundaries of what church music should sound like, which is why I love groups like Rend Collective Experiment, Gungor and David Crowder Band… however it seems to me that these days if a worship leader wants to push the boundaries they put Lecrae on the album… it’s almost starting to border on predictable.
The highlight of the album comes with the albums lead single “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)” – it’s an honest song that talks about the tension we have as Christians which is that we worship the God of Angel Armies and created the world, yet he’s also our friend and father… and I think this song put’s it into balance as well as you can in 4 minutes and 27 seconds.
‘Lay me down’ has Acoustic Jars of clay sound and has a great chorus, however the placement on the album seems a bit odd as the next track to follow is the Martin Smith penned track ‘God’s great dance floor’ with a churched down oonse oonse feel to it… think a updated disco cut of Chris Tomlin in a night club dancing to club music.
And while this album is pushing boundaries for Chris Tomlin, there are plenty of classic Tomlin moments ‘White Flag’ and ‘Jesus Son of God’ to name a few that have already appeared on, so if you’re a huge Tomlin fan you don’t have to learn to talk ‘street’ before buying this album.
As a whole album I think it’s one of Tomlin’s best, there is enough to keep you interested and wondering what will come next yet there is enough familiarity to make you feel you can take some of the songs from the album and sing them at your church. I found the balance refreshing as I have become a bit skeptical of ‘worship’ albums as many of them are working to a deadline, and I wonder does that takeaway some of the creativity?
And after listening to some worship albums you would have to wonder…
I think this album has a bit of something for everyone, and I’m glad people are starting to release church music that is a bit more upbeat rather than somber funeral marches you hear in some churches…
If you are a Tomlin fan you’ll buy this album regardless… if you’re not a fan yet, there are still songs on the album that may capture your imagination.
There is nothing new in music… lets just get that out there now… phew you feel better right?
Rock was birthed out of blues… blues out of Negro Spirituals… Bluegrass even was inspired by some Jazz influences…
If you take away the distortion and yelling, and unplug everything heavy metal sounds just like a mixture between classical and country… it’s can actually be ‘pretty’.
What about band’s making their careers longer by using other bands members?
Now I have been thinking recently specifically about the old Christian rock groups of the 90′s (specifically DC Talk, Audio Adrenaline and Newsboys) swapping band members… my reaction to it is “Meh”
Bands have been doing it for ages…
Van Halen, had Gary Cherone from Extreme… look back further… band members from other groups used to form ‘Supergroups’ all the time, Crosby (The Byrds) Stills (Buffalo Springfield) Nash (The Hollies) and Neil Young… Or The Traveling Wilbury’s with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty.
Heck even New Kids on The Block decided to join forces with The Backstreet boys to form NKOTBSB *sigh*.
So why is everyone so upset when Soul tinged singer Micheal Tait, grabs the mic for Newsboys… or when Kevin Max grabs the Mic for Audio Adrenaline?
Isn’t it about the music, rather than the personalities?
And while I think about the fact that it’s a sign that often the music industry is wanting to hold onto the past it has to be pointed out that if there’s nothing else new and exciting coming through the other side from new and upcoming, then they(the music industry and music labels) have to scramble to keep revenue ticking in right?
Music is always about personalities… Elvis, the Beatles, Prince, Michael Jackson, KISS, Ben Harper, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and of course the list goes on… however… it’s always the MUSIC that lives on…
As Frank Zappa famously quoted:
“All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.”
So lets not worry about who is singing with who… but the fact that someone is still singing!!
Did you know that you’re cheating on someone you love RIGHT NOW???
Now I’m not talking necessarily about you cheating on your wife with another woman… a game of cards… or tax.
I read a phrase by Andy Stanley that through this out of the park for me… What if we use ‘cheating’ in the broader sense?
“Try thinking of it as simply choosing to give up one thing in hope of gaining something else of greater value”
You see when you read that you can’t help but think that you’re a cheater can you?
The reality is that our lives are so filled with ‘stuff” from work commitments to hobbies, and each is competing for our time…. so what we do to get around this is ‘cheat’ and that may mean purely allocating time the best that we can, but we know that someone that we love is going to feel ‘cheated’ don’t we???
I recently went through a tough patch with my beautiful wife Emma… it wasn’t because of anything that either of us had done… it was because time was being allocated in the wrong places.
We had just come through a really busy time of conferences and other commitments that both Emma and I had agreed to… however due to us having to take on extra loads that we hadn’t accounted for we ended up passing like ships in the night. I would come home from work… hand the keys to Emma kiss her and she would head off to another meeting… and the same was true of the weekends, one of us always seemed to be busy, and we were cheating each other of ‘couple time’.
This went on for 4 months… and the tension started to build, in reality I was spending more time with the people at my work and creating bonds with these people, and wasn’t able to invest the same amount of time in my own wife’s life… it was a steep learning curve.
We both knew it was a problem but it was like watching a crash in slow motion… and because both Emma and I are communicators and weren’t able to communicate, things started to happen and intimacy evaporated… *poof*
There was business… there was illness… there was commitments… etc… all of which were taking our time away from each other, and due to the amount of time we were spending apart we were investing that same time in the things we were involved in… we were cheating on each other… with our work and our friends… it was time and intimacy we were robbing each other of.
“Someone is going to get cheated. Worse yet, someone is going to feel cheated. You’re not giving him/her what is deserved or needed.”
The issue is never “Am I cheating?”
The issue is “Where am I cheating?”
Maybe this is a good place to start… However I have a feeling that it would need to go a lot deeper than this. It starts with love the neighbours as yourself… And loving your enemies as well… Community isn’t about forming ‘cliques’ but about forming bonds.
Wow.. it’s been an age since I’ve blogged… However I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and re-organising my life.
It’s been hard not to put ‘pen to paper’ as I’m a communicator… so it may be a couple of days of ‘catch up’
So what have I been thinking about?
The area I live in is a lower economic area… a working class area… it would be fair to say that a lot of families find it hard to make ends meet.
There are families within this area who aren’t in that position… yet many choose to send their kids away from the area for school, for sports, for church… and I have to ask… is this really community???
Now please hear me… I’m all for giving the best for my children, I have 5 and I love them very very much and I want the best for them… however how can I teach them that community is part of stories like ‘The Good Samaritan’ (Luke 10:25-37) if we’re sending them outside the place they’re living??
Now I used to be one of those parents who send their children away from the area to go to school… but in the weekends… in the local shops… in our church who did they see?
It wasn’t people from school it was people from the area they live… their community.
Are we fooling our kids and robbing them of true community?
You see sending our kids away from the community they are part of to do what we think are best could be more damaging than we think…
Community is meant to be messy… it’s part of the magic that makes community…
Acts 2:42-47 gets used lots for people to claim their stance of what community is… however these people were Jews AND Gentiles… traditional Jews and Rabbis, mixing with people who ad no idea about the others culture was about. It was rich people giving things away to those who needed it… it was traditional foe loving each other… it was eating together… it was uncomfortable to start off with I’m sure.
How are our children meant to learn this? Especially if we’re telling them that the community that WE put them into is true community?
When actually what it really is could only be best described as ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ ?? (or maybe just snobbery)
Community is where you are planted and living within that place… yes you can create community in other areas, but lets be realistic about what it really is it’s not true community, it’s community genetic engineering.
Community is often awkward… it’s often heads butting… it’s often filled with mistakes… it’s often hard work… and it’s always messy…
but out the other end is something magic… it’s rich lifting up poor (and I’m not just talking financial… but knowledge/beliefs/culture etc.) it’s those with, giving to those who don’t, it’s lifting up each other… and you can’t do this without going through a process of iron sharpening iron.
Have you read the prayer that Jesus made on the night of, not only his betrayal… but his crucifixion?
I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. John:17:20-21
Jesus didn’t pray for the sake of Community… but so that the World would believe that Jesus was sent from God.
He wanted us to be one… as God and Jesus were…
It was the God of the world… coming down and mixing with us, who are unworthy… who are messed up…
That’s where community starts… and that’s messy…
On the 1st of September 2012 I was privileged to be able to be given the opportunity to play at HPCC at the 2012 ‘You Are Here’ Art Exhibition. I played a short acoustic set of all originals.
I chose 4 songs to play… really basic… just a guitar… a microphone… and me!
Here is the first song of the set called ‘Messy Middle’.
Messy Middle is about when life throws you a curve ball… something that you didn’t see coming and you’re thinking to yourself “God what are you doing here?… can you just call me???”