Tuesday, February 01, 2005

...Fool Me Twice, Shame on Christian Music

Jesus music is getting sneakier. At one point, you could easily identify a Christian rock song on the radio within 20 seconds of listening to it and then breeze right past that particular station (usually something like “88-point-7, WGOD, The God! Songs of Salvation to Soothe the Soul!). Usually, you would hear a whiny front man, probably blonde and well-built, singing a painfully religious chorus like “Our God is glorious, glorious” or “Praise be to our Lord and Savior.” I could almost respect Jesus music back then. They weren’t trying to hide anything; they were just annoyingly happy to be praising Christ at every waking hour of the day.

Nowadays, these Christian artists are much trickier and stealthier. I was driving home from work the other day, and I found a station playing a new song that I had never heard before. It had a catchy hip-hop beat, so I let it play. The next song was an also unfamiliar and somewhat beguiling alternative rock song, so I continued to leave it on the current station. It wasn’t until a commercial break about ten minutes later that I realized it was a CHRISTIAN station. I had been hoodwinked! Bamboozled!

Some would say, “But Joel, you shouldn’t be upset about such things. You were being exposed to the word of God, and since you were born and raised as a Roman Catholic, that should be good!” and on most days, I might simply submit to this kind of retort. However, I spoke with my father not long ago about a Neo-Nazi record label that recorded subtly racist songs in the popular musical styles of the day and distributed them on playgrounds to young, impressionable school children. Then, gradually, they exposed these children to less delicate white power music until finally, they were all listening to some very hardcore, racialist stuff.

It is not my intention to compare Christian musicians to Nazis, but how is this any different? Christian rock has in the past been nothing but Abercrombie-clad tween males “rocking out” with acoustic guitars and small bands. Suddenly Christian music is supposed to extend beyond the acoustic folk style? Is this NOT unlike the Operation Playground that is run by the German Neo-Nazi group (Okay, so maybe it IS my intention to compare Christian musicians to Nazis, except for all that racial cleansing stuff. They share profound differences in that category)?

Personally, I hate music with hidden religious messages. This was a huge reason I stopped listening to Creed and Evanescence. I felt as if I was being hypnotized with cryptic implications. For example, I wouldn’t like a group that only sang songs about how delicious chocolate cake was, and how everybody should eat chocolate cake at all times. There may also be songs that explain how eating vanilla or strawberry cake unconditionally sends you to hell. I don’t know if this analogy is making any sense, but it sure as hell is making me want a piece of chocolate cake. You should have some, too. Sinners.

I suppose there are a LOT of musical messages out there a LOT worse than “follow the example of Jesus,” but I hate when something’s overly-corny, and I hate when something is sneaky. Jesus music loses because it’s either one or the other. I was tricked into listening to the God station once, but now that I have “88-point-7, WGOD” memorized, I know to glaze over it next time. It’s like the great George W. Bush once said: “Fool me once, shame on… shame on you. But fool me… fool me can’t be fooled again.”

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Quotes of the Day

Today's edition of "Quotes of the Day" is a bit different from those in the past. I've included a handful of Jack Handy's "Deep Thoughts" today. I was reading some of this while my freshmen were reading silently, and I laughed out loud more than once. I'm pretty sure they thought I was at least mildly retarded. Enjoy!

"It's funny that pirates were always going around searching for treasure, and they never realized that the real treasure was the fond memories they were creating."

"It makes me mad when I go to all the trouble of having Marta cook up about a hundred drumsticks, then the guy at Marineland says, "You can't throw chicken to the dolphins. They eat fish." Sure they eat fish, if that's all you give them. Man, wise up."

"The day I met Marta was the happiest day of my life, because that was the day I screwed a friend of mine out of a bunch of money."

"Children need encouragement. So if a kid gets an answer right, tell him it was a lucky guess. That way, he develops a good, lucky feeling."

"If you ever go temporarily insane, don't shoot somebody, like a lot of people do. Instead, try to get some weeding done, because you'd really be surprised."

...and my personal favorite...

"When I think of all the arguments Marta and I have had, I realize how silly most of them were. And it makes me wonder why she wanted to argue over such stupid things. I think I'll go ask her."

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