Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Who Says

I can't help but respond to this and while many of you won't be shocked I still must do it. John Mayer's new single, "Who Says." There are two things to address first while I may think John Mayer is a creative guru I don't by any means think he is perfect. Secondly in that same light I do question his motives at certain times.

First we all must come to the fact that no matter who we like in this life they will let us down. I was truly hoping this single was just a joke. I listened to it and sure I liked the way it sounded but questioned the lyrics. Friends let me say this. I once was in the place to deny that lyrics affected me but now I find myself frustrated when an artist I like compromises things I believe. I know it sounds weird but if I like the sound or artist I want to listen to the song and not feel guilty. I don't want to listen to a song and cringe every time I hear the lyrics. While I like this song and normally a John Mayer single would repeat on my ipod this one has moved into the mass of songs just hidden away. I wait patiently for the new album listening to snippets of "War of my Life." I have so much to say about that song but that is a side note and I will wait for the real version. We do come to a choice to agree with an artist and their songs or to disagree and turn away.

"Who Says," first came out with the idea that when he said, "Stoned....he meant playing the guitar naked in his home." I knew there is no way he could say this word and then not mean what that said. There are many words that have duel meanings in our lives but stoned means one thing only. It was funny to watch people argue it and claim listen to what the author sasys. I mean I thought about the different conversations I had with people discussing Creed. The argument always was Scott does not mean to talk about God even if it is obvious. True we must listen to what the author meant and we speak that about scripture. But what happens when the author says a word and then says it has a different meaning than the common one.

I think that is odd but we cannot deny the fact of what that word means. The only other meaning for stoned is scripturely and has more to do with dying than freedom. Finally John after a week came out with the true meaning that it was to think why have we not legalized certain drugs. Regardless of all this banter my thing is in a song like this all about who says I can't do this or that it is easy for us as Christians. We know "who says" and it is God. If you ask me why well it is for your own good. See that is the beauty of Christianity many of our deepest questions our answered because our Author doesn't change meanings he does what He Says. And what He says is for our own God not to hold back freedom.

I will still appreciate John but he is flawed so am I. Yet while this post was written a long time ago and just finished up lately I could not let this song go by without saying something. I think this is important we don't just pass on moments like this to talk about how the world is flawed no matter how much we enjoy certain things in this life. And that my friends makes me thankful for heaven when all of this is redeemed. The album is out now and I found many songs I do enjoy without lyrics that compromise what I believe.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Everything in Moderation

This is a saying we hear and often say over and over. Oh I finally found it. Years of people telling me about it and wondering where it was in Scripture. Oh sure I acted like I knew. Yeah that is in...well scripture. The truth is Philippians 4:5 talks about "let your moderation be know to all men, the Lord is near," in the KJV. What is the point? Well several websites claimed it does not exist. It does but is often translated gentleness instead of moderation.

This has got me to think about what does that really mean. The warning is that we use it to allow us to do whatever. Really this is obvious that it does not mean moderation in things, specifically things completely spoken against in scripture. But that a man of God shows how he can moderate his life. But what is the purpose of Moderation?

Fasting....yeah you heard me right Fasting. The point of fasting I think can be so often misunderstood. Like I should force myself not to eat. I remember in college when I said I was going to fast and go to chapel. My classes were to close together and I had to choose and I chose chapel over the cafeteria. Now was I more right than the person who may have chosen food? Well of course not but it was a choice I made to make sure nothing was above God.

Nothing above God what does that mean? It means there is nothing that I will say I "have to" do this. The danger is the "have to" in our lives become easy justification to miss something focused on Jesus. For example if someone asks you to come help me serve this weekend, I would love to but I have to... It is not that the service or Christian event is more important, it is more about my attitude. That I actually think that God can't fulfill that need. We don't come right out and say it, that "have to" cannot be filled by God but it is an underlying tone. Kind of like scriptures don't exactly say everything in moderation it is understood but not said. The point is I throw out the excuse I "have to", instead of just saying I am hungry and will worship God later. The danger is finding our fulfillment in something other than God.

When I put it this way there are so many things I need to fast. All of the sudden food seems easy. I mean what about music, my car, phone, ipod, computer, and so on. Moderation becomes about no extreme in anything. We build things in our life that we can't live without and the reality is the only thing in my life I don't want to live without is Jesus. But we can find so many other things to put on that list even if we don't think they are on there.

So what if I started fasting things I think I can't live without as a reminder that nothing can replace Jesus. What would that look like?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


What terms stick and what ones don't? I find it odd that I can say one thing one place and it is cool but say it in another and it is not cool.

For example I remember when I was working at Abercrombie and Fitch in the Lou and it was cool to say shady. You know like that guy is shady or that's shady. Anyway I came home and said this to my sister and she did not like it. She thought that word sounded funny and not cool. In California I often got made fun for saying pop. I actually think that pop can sound better than soda. I feel like soda can be sound like a country word and not so much like a city word. Again this is all so stereotypical and who really defines what words are cool and who they belong with. But somehow words sound different to us. I mean even if it is a cool word how do we feel if an older person says that word.

I remember when one of the girls who comes to Cornerstone on Thursday nights said that I was too old to have holes in my jeans. I thought ok I wasn't wearing them back in the 80s when it was first cool but of recent I was up on the fashion wore them pretty quickly after they came out. Regardless something in her head tells her that is not cool.

All this is my introduction for the word Paint. We can so often hear people say they are going to go paint the town. This term can be used by young or old and no one blinks. I don't think it is cool or not cool it just is. But it was interesting to hear the term paint the town in one of the new Blackeyed Peas' songs. I heard them use the term paint the town and I thought how interesting. What does that even mean?

It actually in its original meaning means to go and go on a riot through out town. Originally taken from these men who did exactly that, had a riot in a town and did paint some of the town red. But I think now days while it can still hold that meaning it means going out and not missing a spot. Sure it does have some connotation to the idea that you are going to get in trouble. But I can tell you when my grandma says it, she is not meaning causing riots. She is probably talking more like making our presence known.

This got me to think about painting our faith and our lives. You know not missing a spot in either of those places. That we make sure everything that is said and known about us speaks faith and the fact we are living in the truth. If our lives were completely covered in Jesus and all that we spoke was about him.

Now realizing this is impossible. We are going to have places that need chiseled out. I just saw the video by the skit guys and know God must continue to shape our lives. But what if my intention was to paint Jesus where ever I went. How would my life change? Do I dare to paint the town Jesus???

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quarter Machines Be There

So today I heard Howie Day's new song called Be There. I once heard this concert where Howie and John Mayer were talking about how they were stuck at one of those quarter machine for hours. They stood there watching as the quarters hung for dear life waiting to fall off the edge. Each quarter dropped is supposed to help change the setting and because of the metal pusher it could possibly have to fall off. It is confusing because it does look like they will fall but they never do.

I remember that after I heard that I found one of those machines. It is on Exit 131 between St. Louis and KC right outside of Columbia. It was a little BP station. I would remember that concert I heard and get caught in the world of playing the game. I am sure that game beat me more than I ever beat it. But I still stood there watching it and hoping they would all fall from the ledge to the base of the game and my pocket.

It was fun and I remember loving life in those moments and Howie Day reminds me of that. He reminds me of that time while I was in seminary. I can't really tell you what bad was happening to me but I can remember the gas station, the exit and the machine.

A quarter machine seems like something so simple but I ever wonder if God feels like that. Like He is just watching as we hang on to the edge of something. He stands up there feeding us and doing as much as He can to guide us so that we will become free but we hang on. There are times when we feel like we are ready to be free of this world and the trap we are in but yet we still hang on. And maybe it isn't us it might be people we know who refuse to see the truth or see a bit of the truth but still hang on to their old life.

It amazes me how awesome God is though. I mean I know He is so willing even in our stubbornness to keep feeding and guiding us. He will continue to stand their and watch us and not get frustrated. He will continue to wait for you and I to be free of this game we are trapped in.

Oh if I could only live in those moments of just Being There and taking in what God has for me and free from the game of life.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Oh so long my friends

If anyone reads this blog I would have quit checking by now. Sometimes deep thinking takes longer than a little bit.

Mat Kearney who know he was Christian. Tonight I am taking the chance to enjoy his new album on the Rhapsody preview. I realized the other day that creation is an interesting thing. I mean for us as humans it takes so long for us to create things. A blog, a new song, a new friendship, a new relationship, a new sermon and so on. Yet we continue to create I recently wrote a twitter about that. People continue to come up with new stuff and when I hear new stuff it floors me. No shock I hear a John Mayer mix and am just taken back by it. But going to Jame Taylor with my father in law taught me that other people see that too. A comparison of James Taylor and John Mayer brought me back to the biblical truth that there is nothing new under the sun. So some how this fits together. That you and I can hear a new song that changes our life or maybe just reminds us that life is real.

I think that is it for me. A new song reminds me that life keeps changing and never stops. Yet I will always ponder this line from the great Solomon that there is nothing new under the sun. A new song can remind me that I should never give up. I reread that line and find it depressing but the truth is we continue to pull ourselves out of the muck. We get up each day and say what could possibly make this day better. Is the answer the chance of something new? I think the answer is put in the words of my Hebrew teacher something renewed. While it is true that there is nothing new under the sun. The truth is life continues to take the old elements and renew them. By life I mean us and in all actuality I mean Jesus. Jesus is ultimately the one who taught us what renew really means. It means you and I restored. Restoration how beautiful is that. No one can deny the old car made new again. The friend we once had who has a new hope. If restoration wasn't cool we wouldn't appreciate movies like Ray or Walk the Line.

At the end of the day we can use whatever words we want but new or renew means one thing hope. And I know where that hope comes from. Thank you Jesus for new...thank you for new days....thank you for renewed days....thank you for Hope!

Written after my long break but took me awhile to publish.