Five for Friday

WCBE LogoAn “Occassional Series” here at Inspired by Daniel at Alien Soil, I fire up Media Player on random and post the first 5 songs here.

  1. John Gorka and Lucy Kaplansky – A Saint’s Complaint from WCBE – Vol. 9 – Double Dose
    Another great live tune from one of WCBE’s ‘Live From Studio A’ recordings. A folksy tune recorded with acoustic guitar and two singers.
  2. The Turtles – Happy Together from Happy Together
    The 60’s were awesome times for popular music, weren’t they? I’m betting that many of you will leave this post with this song in your head. You’re welcome.
  3. Don Henley – Sunset Grille from Building the Perfect Beast
    I think this was one of the 2 or 3 hits from this 1984 release. A bit long at almost 6 1/2 minutes. Don Henley has a cynical edge to him that appeals to me, which is not likely a good thing. A good disc overall.
  4. Styx – The Best of Times from Classics, Vol. 15
    This was originally from Paradise Theater, arguably their peak album. This was a more mellow, pop oriented Styx than their earlier stuff. Still feels like classic Styx, though, with their unique harmonies and piano work. (Of course, the next album, Kilroy was Here, was full on 80’s pop with a little rock opera mixed in, but I’ll save that for another FfF.)
  5. Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama – Mother Pray from There Will be a Light
    The Blind Boys are awesome. I wish I could generate the kind of resonance that bass does. Heard these guys on WCBE a while back.

Your turn, fire up your MP3 player, put it on random and give me yours in the comments.

Galatians 4 – Slavery vs. Freedom

Galatians 4:1-7 – I’ve read this over maybe 4 times just now. It feels like there’s some profound truth in there that’s eluding me, but maybe it’s simply this:
Jesus changes everything. Everything.
We were once enslaved children, now free men. Once slaves, now sons and heirs. Once under law, now adopted as sons.
I think I tend to operate as if nothing has changed when in reality everything has changed under Jesus.
Galatians 4:9 – As if on cue, Paul gives me a spiritual dope slap. “… how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world … ?” Indeed, but I am so forgetful.
Galatians 4:21-31 – Paul contrasts the sons of Abraham’s two wives, one a slave and one free. He pleads with them to remember that they are children. like Isaac, of the promise, children of freedom.
Yet Christians today pile rule upon rule, attempting to live right by becoming slaves to them instead of embracing the undeserved freedom from Christ and letting it compel them to live by righteousness.

Galatians 3 – By Faith, Not Works.

Galatians 3:1 – “O foolish Galatians!” Paul says. Why? Because they were buying into the notion that they had to follow the law to be justified. What law? Well, specifically he refers to circumcision in chapter 2, but not directly. I don’t think it’s clear here what law or laws they were relying on, the sense to me is bigger than that. It’s not that this law or that one isn’t needed, nor that the law isn’t valuable, it’s that it is powerless to save. Not only that, but they were taught not to rely on the law but on faith in Jesus, so Paul calls them fools.
If Paul came back, i suspect he’d enter many of our churches and cry out “You foolish Americans!” hearing sermon after sermon on proper moral living and how to improve ourselves. We like to think that we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, that we can work hard to fix ourselves. We cannot, and to preach, teach or live by that philosophy is the height of foolishness.
In fact, if we could fix ourselves, it was Jesus who was the fool for coming here to be tortured and die for nothing.
Galatians 3:10-14 – The standard of the world is that if you follow the rules, things go OK. Well, that’s conventional wisdom anyway, we see examples all over of folks who skirt the rules and get ahead anyway, at least superficially. but Paul here refuses even to pay lip service to conventional wisdom, pointing out the elephant in the room – that we simply can’t follow the letter of the law. We forget the rules, we defy them, we are simply pulled into disobedience by the attractiveness of sin. So, if we rely on good behavior, we are finished before we’ve begun.
But, he says, Jesus turns the conventional wisdom (that’s patently false in reality) on its head. He becomes the one and only human in all of history to follow the rules, the only one qualified to receive the prize on his own efforts, then he swaps rewards with us. We get his (eternal life with the father), he gets ours (death on a cross). Remember Monte Hall and Let’s Make a Deal? You’ve won a new set of cookware, but do you want to trade it for the mystery behind door number 3? It might be junk, might be a new car, who knows? Well, Jesus took the deal and swapped rewards with us, except he knew both prizes ahead of time and that His rightful reward was far superior to what we earned. But he knew that the only way that we would earn anything but death was if he earned it for us, so He made the deal.
So don’t pretend that you are all that and have worked hard for that which Christ has gave you. And don’t fall into the trap that, somehow, if you’re not good enough, Jesus is going to switch back. He’s not.
Galatians 3:15-29 – Most of this stuff goes over my head. I squint my eyes, cock my head and read it over and over and I still don’t quite get it. One thing I do get is that Jesus is the fulfillment of a promise made to Abraham long before (centuries before) the law was given. No number of laws can make that covenant void. The law was given temporarily, our guardian is says in Galatians 3:24-25 (ESV), until the promised faith was revealed completely in Jesus. Now that He is here, its purpose is complete, its job done, and we have no need of it. Wow, cool.

Galatians 2 – Boldness, Freedom and Surrender

Galatians 2:1-2 – Paul in chapter 1 insists that the Gospel he preaches came not from men but from Jesus, yet here he says that he went to Jerusalem to present his Gospel to the leaders there, “in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain“. Even though he was confident in what Jesus had given Him, knowing that Jesus had spoken also to them (and first), he wanted to be sure that they were in agreement.
Galatians 2:4-9 – He who once a zealot for the law, to the point of punishing law breakers with death, now just as zealously defends the Gospel of freedom and refuses to allow those who would claim we must still submit to the law any ground.
Galatians 2:11-14 – The church needs men of boldness like Paul, who for the sake of the purity of the Gospel will stand up, publicly, to leaders whose “conduct [is] not in step with the truth of the gospel“. Paul paid a price for his convictions as do those today who dare to call false gospel false. Of course, Paul’s standing for the Gospel ultimately cost him his life at the hands of those outside the church, but I imagine that day he ruffled a few feathers among the brothers that day.
Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” I struggled with this before becoming a Christian and I’ve since heard others express the same struggle. The commitment to Christ is complete and total surrender. From the outside, it seems as if you will loose your very identity, becoming some religious clone of every other Christian, robotically living the same life as any other disciple. As this verse says, we are no longer ourselves, but Jesus in the flesh. It’s scary and it sounds boring.
But while there is truth to those ideas, that I die and succumb to Christ, that does not produce like Jesus like duplicates in the way that a photocopier does. The beauty of God’s creation in humanity is that His will and Jesus can be expressed in a huge number of ways. We are still individual expressions of the will of the Father, when we surrender to Him and live out Jesus instead of us, the real us He created is revealed. on two disciples are alike, just like no two sinners are and none of us are a complete expression of who He is. Only when we come together as the church to we begin to fully experience and express Him.
Far from being boring, when we let go and surrender to Jesus, only then we are able to live up to our potential, becoming, finally, all that He created us to be.

To the Woman on the Turntable

I just got back from the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit this past Saturday. It was a pretty slow show this year, a lot like last year. No Nissan. No Infiniti. No Porsche.
My biggest disappointment wasn’t the caliber of the show over all, it was the turntable personnel or “Booth Professionals”. There have always been attractive folks standing on the turntable with the show cars or new production cars. In the past, however, they were all dressed professionally and had something intelligent to say about the car next to them. This year, in the Chinese electric micro car maker CT&C’s booth and in the Chrysler area, the booth professionals were ultra skinny women wearing not nearly enough fabric and said absolutely nothing. Worse, they were relentless about staying with the cars and posing, making getting a shot of the actual vehicle with out them nearly impossible. Now, I like the female form as much as the next guy, but I take seriously what Jesus said about lust and adultery. Besides, I’m there to see the cars, not them.
Jalopnik today has a post from one of these ladies, well, at least someone who works in that capacity. She’s, for obvious reasons, not letting us know who she is or even if she’s actually working NAIAS this year, only that she’s a ‘Booth Professional’.
In her post, she takes guys to task, rightfully so, for treating her like another object to be added to the options list. She says:

The comments on this and other websites that publish ‘Girls of the Auto Show’ posts can be downright disgusting. Do you have a daughter? A sister? Wife? Mother? What would you do if a total stranger walked up to her and asked how much she charges for the evening?
… I don’t object to being a sex symbol. I object to objectification. When you ask me, even in jest, “Do you come with the car?”, do you know what you are implying? Let me fill you in: that I am nothing more than an accessory to be bought, like 20-inch rims or a stereo upgrade. It’s not cute, it’s degrading.

She’s absolutely right, too many guys go there, and for every one who says it out loud, I bet there are at least 10 that are thinking something like it in their mind. It’s disgusting, plain and simple and keeping it to yourself doesn’t make it a whole lot better. Guys, man up and treat her with respect. She is someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, maybe even someone’s wife. If you can’t muster the cojones to do so, move on and go look at another booth.
She goes on to say that the way she dresses isn’t her idea, the marketing department dictates every last stitch. Now here’s where I’ve gotta challenge her. Look, no one put a gun to your head and made you take the job. They may have chosen the dress (and frankly, shame on them for that), you put it on. To think that all the guys will look at you in skin tight spandex and think happy thoughts about flowers and bunnies shows you to be very naive about the male psyche. Not to absolve them of the responsibility of treating you right, but to dress like that in a male dominated venue is a bit like opening a fifth of Jack Daniels at dinner with a recovering alcoholic and expecting him to stay sober. Sure, it’s his responsibility to stay clean, but you ain’t helping.
In case my comments above aren’t clear enough, nothing I’ve said here should be construed as meaning that guys have an excuse to lust. To be clear, I don’t care what she’s wearing (or not wearing), guys, you are responsible for keeping your thoughts pure. She’s still a child of God and as such should command your utmost respect. But, ladies, to paint on a dress and then complain when a man says or thinks something inappropriate, well, what did you expect? When you play with fire, you’re gonna get burned.

Galatians 1 – The True Gospel

Once again, it’s been over a month since my last QT entry (and, yes, since my last time sitting down with the Bible. Sigh. I’m diving into Galatians and then back to the OT, perhaps for the minor prophets, I’m not sure yet. I’m open to your OT suggestions.
Galatians 1:1 – Paul pauses, briefly, to point out (or remind them) that he is an apostle, not because men decided he should be, but because Jesus himself had come to him and mad him one.
Galatians 1:3 – Paul reminds us of several things in this short greeting. 1) This age is evil. (So don’t be surprised when men do evil things.) 2) Christ gave himself for our sins to deliver us from said evil. (Amen!) and 3) That was God’s idea and desire. (Amen again!)
Galatians 1:6-9 – I think this passage ought to give us more pause than it seems to. Paul says if anyone preaches a different gospel than what was originally given, they should be cursed. To that many would say “Amen!”, yet we see many gospels in what is broadly seen as Christianity today. We see a gospel of prosperity, that God want’s you to have stuff, we see a gospel of works where we must perform to get into or stay in God’s favor, we see the self help gospel and more. if we agree that there is but one true gospel and that those who preach another ought to be cursed, then we should be sobered and consider hard the gospel that we preach. Is it the gospel or another? Or is it the Gospel plus our own pet convictions and doctrines?
So, should we be timid in proclaiming it, lest we get it wrong? No, the fact that it is so precious and so frequently mis-preached means that, while being careful to preach only what is from Christ, we ought to, in fact we must, proclaim it constantly in order to keep it fresh in our minds and the minds of those around us that any gospel that is false me be immediately seen as such.
Galatians 1:11-24 – Paul says that he did not stop to consult any man, even the leaders in Jerusalem, before he started preaching the Gospel. So, it wasn’t Man’s, it was straight from Christ, through Paul, to the people. There was no need to consult with the leaders, to craft a position or draw up a statement. The Gospel needed no polish or spin then, nor does it today.

David Letterman (Almost) Meets the New Owners

With Leno and Conan and NBC fighting a rather public battle over the Tonight Show, NPR’s Wait Wait blog posted this clip from David Letterman back when he worked for NBC and GE was just about to take over. Very funny stuff.
This is from 1986, back when Letterman was just funny. This is about the time I stared watching him and I watched him rather religiously up until his politics got in the way of the funny, early in 2008 or so.
Hey Dave, can you go back to this kinda stuff?
Via Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me.


Project52 LogoThrough a tweet from Jesse Gardner, I discovered Project52:

Project52 is a personal challenge geared toward getting fresh content on your website. The goal is to write at least 1 new article per week for 1 year. Because we all know what it’s like to procrastinate on our content. A website is not just a fresh design that can be uploaded to the web and forgotten about! …
All you need to do is just commit to the challenge and write the content. This site is just here to remind you of that commitment.
The Project52 challenge will go from January 1st, 2010 to January 1st, 2011. It will be interesting to see how many of us make it that far.

Sounds great to me, I need a little kick in the pants to keep the content flowing here. My goal is not simply a single new post a week, but to add at least 1 post that’s not a quote from someone else’s blog, my quiet time notes or Five for Friday. (EDIT 1/13 – I decided that my QT notes are my own content and frequently rather lengthy, so they count. :-D) So, although I’ve posted 6 things thus far this year, none of them actually qualifies, so I’m technically starting off behind. Maybe I’m being overly ambitious, i don’t know, but I want to focus on substantial content that’s genuinely mine.
Not sure how my own restrictions will play into how Project52 actually get’s implemented (The level of enthusiasm has made implementation more complicated, so it’s not yet really in operation), but that’s my plan anyway.
So, hopefully 2010 will bring more fresh content here at than 2009.

Five for Friday

The Beautiful LetdownAn “Occassional Series” here at Inspired by Daniel at Alien Soil, I fire up Media Player on random and post the first 5 songs here.

  1. Switchfoot – Amunition from The Beautiful Letdown
    Great song from a great CD. I like Switchfoot’s way of putting a spiritual message in a song so that it’s hidden, hoping to reach non-believers and get folks to think. Not sure if it works, but I appreciate it.
  2. Keith Green – Jesus Commands Us to Go! from The Ministry Years, Vol. 2
    Keith Green has some awesome songs, but this isn’t one of them. Sappy, mushy, milquetoast. I bought both of the Keith Green collection sets (4 CDs total) thinking that a guy who wrote The Sheep and the Goats and Asleep in the Light was worth owning the whole collection. I was wrong, too much is standard CCM fluff, like this one.
  3. Jimmie Lunceford – Annie Laurie from Big Band Bash
    This is a 2 CD collection of original big band recordings which is awesome stuff. Old recordings, not remastered so there are pops and clicks and the range of sound is truncated, but the music is great.
  4. Metallica – The Struggle Within from Metallica
    Great song, some PG-13 lyrics, but a great driving song that gets my blood pumping.
  5. REO Speedwagon – Take it on the Run from The Hits
    Classic REO, great stuff.

Your turn, fire up your MP3 player, put it on random and give me yours in the comments.

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