31 October 2005

One more thought before October departs...

I was reading my history book today when I stumbled upon this interesting bit of news (or olds, whichever); Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense, was a social outcast when he attacked Christianity publicly. Who, in today's society, would become a social outcast after dissing Christianity? On quite the other hand, I think it would elevate one's social status to laugh at the religion our founding fathers based this great nation on! How can we have fallen so far? This truly is the turning away.

Looking for an alternative to Nickelback? Try Creed

After my initial review of Nickelback's latest CD, All the Right Reasons, I began pondering what I could listen to instead, that wouldn't be an affront to my morals or my sense of aesthetics, something not as shallow as Nickelback. The answer came to me when I was listening to the radio. The band was Creed, and the song title was Higher. Now, it may sound like a drug trip song, but it isn't. Listen to the first part of the refrain:

Can you take me higher
To the place where blind men see?
Can you take me higher
To the place with golden streets?

Well, a place with golden streets sounds to me a lot like heaven. And consider this; lead singer Scott Stapp was a professing Christian when he sang in Creed. He made a point of writing and singing very hopeful and Christian-lifestyle influenced songs. None of the songs by Creed encourage illegitimate sex, drugs, or revenge. They inspire hope, joy, and some very understandable sadness or loss. In their song One Last Breath, Scott intones the following;

I'm looking down now that it's over
Reflecting on all of my mistakes
I thought I found the road to somewhere
Somewhere in His grace.

Now forgive me for thinking so, but that has a lot more depth and none of the suicidal notes of like-sounding bands Staind and Nickelback.
However, at times Creed hurts like everyone else. But they let it out constructively, asking God what He has in mind, like in Don't Stop Dancing.

At times life's unfair and you know it's plain to see
Hey, God, I know I'm just a dot in this world
Have you forgot about me?
Whatever life brings
I've been through everything
And know I'm on my knees again

Creed has depth, that can't be denied. But because of the somewhat grinding (yet certainly tuneful) guitars and Stapp's gritty vocals, many parents may be tempted to just turn it off. But consider this; Creed has earned much respect over the past few years, and though Stapp is no longer with his band, Creed CDs are available almost everywhere. ONE EXCEPTION to all this good stuff is the band's somewhat dark CD, My Own Prison.

On another note, Stapp wrote and sang the song With Arms Wide Open, about a young father and mother ready to learn to be good parents, to his son before he was born. Though Stapp and his wife are now divorced, Stapp is raising his son in the Christian lifestyle.

Thanks to Creed, kids can enjoy popular tunes like My Sacrifice without the negative impact of Staind, Korn (interesting story on them, too), or Nickelback.
Parents can rest assured that their kids will not be negatively influenced by Creed. Or, if you're willing to brave the guitars and vocals, you can pre-listen before you let your kids listen. But rest assured that Creed is not a shallow or suicidal band.

Superficiality in teenage relationships?

Ok, so I was reading this recommended article. And do you know what struck me? I was thinking, hm, this is interesting. I agree with her. But her article got me thinking. Why is there such superficiality in teenage relationships? Here's a hint:

Look around!!!

What do you see? And why shouldn't we buy it? Turn on the TV. Switch on the radio. Surf the web. What is our culture selling us? Why should people who lack a solid moral foundation have inhibitions against it?

Here's the deal. Teens buy what the culture sells. And the culture is selling flirtiness as a sign of social status, and kiss me is now a sign of progression. How can this be? Why have we fallen so low? And why do we think it's a new low?
Here's what I think.

Teens are not always the victims.
It has been established that the culture sells what we want, plus some. Apparently, what we want is loose sexual lifestyles. Our culture is only reflecting what we want, with a little added on. Whatever we want, our culture will give us x2. That's just the way it is.

Where are teens getting this superficiality?

They watch TV.
They listen to the radio.
They surf the web.
So what? So do their parents. My point is that teens get to be the way they are through several things. By their personality, and by their surroundings. That's about it. And when their surroundings are overriding their morals and their personalities, they become tools of the culture. They begin to absorb such valueless, hip things as one-night stands, optional obedience, smoking, drugs, and disobendience. All this from their surrounding culture, and what their parents haven't taught them. All this adds up to the potential downfall of America.

Point is, superficiality comes because people don't bother to teach teens what real relationships are. The culture we live in has cause massive decay in the fundamental core of relationships, and there is only one cure: Teach teens to start and carry through deep, meaningful relationships. What else is there to do? Criticizing them is not enough. If you're a Christian, it's your job to teach people your age how to live life meaningfully. I can never reiterate enough that criticizing is not enough!

What are you supposed to do before you grow up?

There's a burning question that I think really deserves an answer. What are we supposed to do with ourselves before we grow up? Provided, of course, that you term "growing up" as reaching the old age of 25, not as absolute spiritual maturity. But before you reach the age of 25, or 20 even, you should learn a few simple things.

1. You are not number one in the world.
No matter what it feels like when you're a teenager, the world does not revolve around you. There are people with bigger, more pressing problems than yours. I say this not to discourage you, but because it's true. No, it doesn't mean your problems are unimportant or shallow. It simply means that not everyone can pay attention to you when you think you need it. Sorry. But it is an important concept. When you go out and start working, your boss may not really care about how your date last night went. If you want to record the things that happen to you so you don't forget them, then by all means, begin a journal. Girlish as it may sound, it is helpful.

2. You're going to have to assume more personal responsibilty than you have now.
It might feel like you've got the world on your shoulders with homework, siblings, friends, sports, and everything else, but sooner or later you're going to have to take a job and/or get married. This will sooner or later happen to everyone. Responsibility is a part of life. You will just have to accept that, and prepare for it by serving in your own home and assuming as much responsibility as you can handle. This requires more of you, but trust me, it's worth it. You get the trust of your parents, as well as being able to learn to deal with crying kids, burning cookies, and spilt canola oil.

3. Responsibility will reward you.
If you're responsible in your own home, as I've mentioned before, your parents learn to trust you-if you are truly responsible. Of course, no boy wants to babysit anymore than he absolutely has to, but it will help you prepare for when you are a dad.

My main point is that before you turn 25, you need to have responsibility. When you're responsible for anything, your bosses learn to appreciate your work. Of course, you also have to have a good work ethic, but that comes later.

30 October 2005

Music review for Nickelback's All the Right Reasons

My problem with Nickelback is that I've noticed they don't write any the deep stuff of yesterday. They don't pour their pain and sorrow or happiness into their songs. They sing about the disillusionment of youth. They sing about, well, purely adolescent issues. Puh-leeze. They're not kids anymore! I guess they still like to act like it, though. They act like sellouts. Why would you go deep when you can just scratch the surface? What I really don't like about this CD is that the guys sing about the same thing...over, and over, and over. There's no fear of being left wondering what Nickelback's songs are about, like lead vocalist Chad Kroeger dissed other bands for doing. If you listen to the lyrics, they're about the coarsest, most cliche subject ever, sex. What secular artist hasn't done at least one song, or maybe even a CD, about hot girls? Come on, guys. Get real. No one identifies with your music. I thought that was what you wanted from your fans! I thought you wanted to reach your fans on a deeper level than just partying. Well, there's no fear of that with this CD. Even though one of the most popular songs on the album, Photograph, shot straight up the charts, it has its own dose of rebellion-"Criminal record says I broke in twice/Must have done it half a dozen times." But anyone buying the CD based only on that song will be in for an unpleasant surprise. All the Right Reasons sounds like their past three albums. These guys need a constructive way of getting their feelings out. They shouldn't be singing.

I have so much to do! Sometimes it seems like I'm swimming in an ocean of geometry, history, speech, and debate. There is no end! I finish geometry and start history. I finish history and start memorizing my speech. I memorize as much as I possibly can and then it's time for supper. After supper I clear up the dishes and load the dishwasher. Does anyone else feel like this? Any other teenagers? I know lots of teenagers go to public school, but even there it must be just as hard, if not harder. I don't know if I'll be able to keep my grades up this year. I hope I can! Mom keeps telling me that this is a very important year and I need to do a good job. But how can I if I have so much to do?? Hmmm. Well, it can only get worse. I'd better cheer up-after all these are the carefree days of my childhood! If these are the carefree days of my childhood, then I really don't want to see what it's like when I grow up.

27 October 2005

Degree or Kind?

Isn't nature beautiful? Step outside and feel the cold fall air. Look at the changing leaves. Admire the red sunset. It really is beautiful. Why do we appreciate its beauty? How is it that we understand when something is beautiful and when it is not? What is it that inclines us toward the pretty and not towards the simple, mundane, or just downright ugly? We appreciate intricacy and creativity. We thrive on beautiful things. But we have no way of knowing exactly why we care so much or what it is that drives us to seek beauty. Could it be our evolved sense of aesthetics? How is it that animals are not attracted to beautiful things? Aren't they evolved, too? I guess what I'm really getting at is: What makes humans different from animals? If evolutionists would have their way, they would have us believe that we are super evolved animals. We bear resemblance to animals, but we are much different. For one thing, we're much smarter than they are. We have huge buildings and we have computers. I say this not to glorify man, but to emphasize the difference between man and animals. Is it a difference of degree or kind?
By degree, we are much smarter than animals. But that isn't the only thing that makes us different.
By kind, we are not animals. We are something completely different, something with a sense of aesthetics, a sense of morals, a sense of humor, a sense of kindness, and we all have values, whether we admit it or not. Our values dictate our feelings, and how we treat other people. But what I'm trying to say is that we are not animals. We are unique. A very valuable book says that man has eternity engraved on his heart. Animals do not. You can tell that from the way they exist day to day, taking what they need, sometimes planning a little ahead, but mostly focused only on the here and now. Humans, on the other hand, pause and reflect on life and the way things are going in our lives. We wonder about our future. That's what we do in school; prepare for whatever our future may hold. I think anyone, evolutionist or not, could easily say that animals do not attend school. They prepare for their future by learning to kill things. But their parents don't worry about them when they don't do quite well enough. Their parents don't really care whether their offspring have a better life than they do. And of course, animals don't pause in front of a beautiful sunset just to watch it. Humans are special.

Humans have a different agenda in life. They want to find meaning before they die. There is no man-made meaning to life, I can tell you that right off the bat. But what is there?
I'll have to leave you hanging in suspense. I really need to get ready for bed! Until later.

This is weird...

There is something weird about this whole life thing. Every notice that life sucks? I don't normally use that word, because it doesn't make sense to me. But if it makes sense to you, I'll use it. Life does suck. Our friends and relatives die. We lose our jobs. We get divorced. We break up with close friends. We argue. Other people stab us in the back. We feel so lonely we could die. At least almost all the things beforementioned have happened to me, except for losing my job. That happened to my dad. But I know that you can identify with at least a few of the aforementioned circumstances. Why do we feel lonely? Why do we break up or divorce? What makes us that way and why do we have to deal with it? The answer is not fun. It isn't cheerful and it doesn't give you higher self esteem or save you money on car insurance. So what good is it? Well, if you would mind continuing reading, I will hopefully be able to illuminate to you just exactly what it is that we need to have and are born without in *drumroll*
This is Weird...Part II. Read on!

What is up with that?

Today, the term "What is up with that?" is more common in America than it really should be. Like when we see abortion clinics thriving and test scores falling, that is often when we ask, "What is up with that?". Like when we see one or two people who can't stand prayer dictate what thousands of people will or will not do, that prompts the question, "What is up with that?". I can tell that people overseas can ask without bias or hatred towards America, "What is up with that?"

And it does beg the question; What is up with us? Have we really fallen so far as to completely aboandon the principles that made our nation great? Why would we do such a thing? Will we really leave the once proud and decidedly Christian country of yesterday in the dust of the new and hedonistic country of today? What would posess us to believe that living a lie is better than being convicted by truth? What would make us want to desert the very God that made us great for the lie that felled the "eternal" Roman empire? Don't we learn from history anymore? In my opinion, I believe that such is the case. How could we learn from history, yet allow all the things that we are allowing? There is no other explanation of why we are allowing homosexuality anywhere. The "unshakable" Roman Empire allowed first infanticide, then homosexuality. And then their empire was destroyed. If you can with a straight face tell anyone that we are not following the same path the Romans did, I don't know what I'll do. This can't go on. Judgement is sure, and it will be swift. There will be no time for repentance at the end. And with that, I bid you farewell. But before I go, I have just one more thing to ask you;

What is up with America?

Weather themes in music?

So I was sitting at the computer, listening to Green Day's Wake Me Up When September Ends, and I was thinking, someone needs to tell these guys that September ended about a month ago. And, by the way, if they're singing a song, it implies that they're awake. But that's just me. Does anyone else think that's weird? I mean, why would you write and perform a great song, just to have it laughed at because it isn't September anymore. That's like Craig Morgan's Redneck Yacht Club. It's winter, ok? And what about Allan Jackson's Summertime Blues? It's not smart to name your song or to sing about some seasonal event, unless it's Christmas or Easter. And besides, not many people are interested in a song that's whining about how hot it is when it's -14 degrees outside. That's not connecting with your listeners! But hey, I'm not a music artist. I just listen to it and criticize it.

Maybe someday I could start my own band. I wouldn't have to go to college, or try to be patient with an abyssymal boss. That beats earning $5.40 an hour. If only I could write songs! Oh, well. I'll start a band, learn to play drums, piano and guitar, and then I can find someone who writes really good songs. I can't decide if I should do that or be a mom. I'll see.

24 October 2005

First post

No matter where this post shows up in my blog, it's my first one. We just got DSL, and I'm really excited about it. It makes it easier to use this site, so that's what I plan to do. I think in this blog I'll do stuff like review movies and music and stuff. I always thought that would be rather fun, and I didn't get into journalism class this year. I'm taking art instead! I can't say I'm disappointed about that; art is one of my favorite subjects.
But since I'm not in journalism class, I would like to also review the latest news and who's blaming who. Please be aware that I take a conservative standpoint on almost all of today's issues. I'm tired of liberal news that just doesn't look at both sides of the story. But I digress.
Anyhow, I'll try to post something in here at least every two or three days. THere are a lot of big news stories floating around right now, and I'm hoping that critiquing them will help me understand them at least a little!

But for now, adieu. I will hopefully put an important article here sometime soon.