Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm Glad I Didn't Die Before I Met You.

**Profanity Warning: some of the quotes in today's post contain crude language!**

There are two activists I admire in the world right now.
Banksy and Chuck Palahniuk.

Banksy is a street artist who uses his graffiti to make political statements. "I like to think I have the guts to stand up anonymously in a western democracy and call for things no-one else believes in - like peace and justice and freedom." His true identity is entirely unknown. Says Banksy on his own mysterious identity: "I have no interest in ever coming out. I figure there are enough self-opinionated assholes trying to get their ugly little faces in front of you as it is." Banksy has traveled the world with his art, which has been found from a wall near Bethlehem, a beach in Cuba and recently on an abandoned gas station in Birmingham. I have high respect for someone who isn't wasting his time just thinking about changing the world. There are far too many people who sit on their asses doing nothing productive; they strive for monetary success, for popularity, for fun at others' expense, for fame. Banksy says that "in the future, so many people are going to become famous that one day everybody will end up being anonymous for 15 minutes."

Chuck Palahniuk is an author, most well-known for the anti-consumerism film Fight Club. His books often revolve around a character who has been marginalized by society and reacts with self-destructive aggressiveness. Chuck offers "Maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves", as explanation for this destruction. Chuck begs for each person to do better than they are doing. "Our Generation has had no Great war, no Great Depression. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives." Often, Chuck's novels are depressing in a terrifyingly true way; "Reality means you live until you die. The real truth is nobody wants reality."

I am so impressed by these two men who have taken non-conventional approaches to changing the world around them. There are far too many people who spread hatred instead of love. Especially, and sadly, in the Christian community. Neither Chuck Palahniuk nor Banksy are Christian. In fact, both are likely to take Ghandi's stance on Christianity; "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are nothing like your Christ."

One thing I have noticed at Redeemer is the lack of action. I know many people on campus, and enjoy the company of very few. Every other week I and a team of three other incredible people lead Deedz Ministries downtown. Often we hear that people are too busy to participate. And yet, some boys on campus have decided they have the time to create a fake personality "Jody Summers" on Facebook and harass other students with her account. That certainly sounds like good Christians trying to change the world around them for the better. I realize we all fail, but we could do much better than we're doing. If everyone chose one good act to do everyday, and in return eliminated one negative act, people might take Christianity a little more seriously. and maybe we could hope to inspire the change that Banksy and Chuck Palahniuk have.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Call Me a Safe Bet; I'm Betting I'm Not.

I have always valued honest music. Artists like Bob Dylan have had a major impact on me, especially where the lyrics are concerned.
It was almost three years ago that I discovered Brand New's song Jesus Christ. The lyrics portray a very real and honest struggle between Atheism and Christianity; between existing in inertia or changing.
But over the years, as I have changed, Brand New has evolved with me. and their lyrics are just as honest and real as before.
I want you to all encounter their songs. Whether you like them or not is not my concern, but check out these songs.

1. Jesus Christ -- about the struggle to believe. (

2. Luca -- parallels Luca Brasi from The Godfather and a cheating significant other. (

3. Seventy Times Seven -- his side of the story of finding his best friend and girlfriend together. (

4. Limosine -- a non-romanticized portrayal of drunk driving. (

5. Limosine (acoustic) -- this gives me shivers every time. (

*6. Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades -- about moving too fast. (

7. You Won't Know -- about making irreversible mistakes. (

*8. The Quiet Things No One Ever Knows -- about losing a lover to your own error. (

*Official music videos

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Day the Music Died.

50 years ago today. (Ok, since it's 2:20AM this was technically yesterday).
R.I.P. Ricardo Steven Valenzuela ("Ritchie Valens"), Jiles Perry Richardson Jr.("The Big Bopper") and Charles Hardin Holley ("Buddy Holly").