Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Response to "Pat: for pete's sake, SHUT UP!!"

Link to the original article


I appreciate your willingess to give Pat the benefit of the doubt; I have no idea how I'd fare having to cover such a complex subject as the situation in Haiti within the limits of a television program.

I'm a little concerned about the comparison of what's going on there with a Christian's bout with cancer. It's been established through other posts and links that God does use natural disasters as both judgement and warning, and, while the Christian population in Haiti is around 84% according to Wikipedia, any missionary there can tell you they've retained their voodoo belief systems and tried to force Christianity into them (thereby ignoring the first and greatest commandment).

God has declared destruction on enemies of the faith before. His warning to Nineveh came in the form of a man, and when Jonah pronounced God's judgement on the city's inhabitants, they turned from their sin and called on God. I don't see why God could not be doing the same thing with Haiti at the present time; tragedy makes people contemplate eternity and their own mortality in ways that being drunk with sin will never do.

From what I've read about your friend, though, there was no suspicion of wanton sin or disobedience in his life. In his case, he entered into (albeit to a greater extent than what many of us will ever endure) what all believers are guaranteed throughout the New Testament, which is sharing in the sufferings of Christ. Enduring suffering draws us closer to Him and shapes our godly character.

On a macro level, things are pretty simple: God pronounces judgement on nations that are disobedient and blessings on nations that obey Him and His commandments. On an individual level, the situation is far more complex. Here, He lets rain fall on the just and the unjust. He lets the wicked prosper for a time (this is the rain mentioned in Matthew 5:45), that they may be given the opportunity to repent. For those that do not turn from their ways, however, He promises a dark end (Psalm 73). For the believer, we are promised His provision for our needs, but also suffering. We endure the trials of this life, for it is in our end that prosperity lies.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Christian Post Article Response

My my,
It's been a long time since I wrote on this blog. I thought I would close it after having achieved my goal of leaving Japan, but I find myself with a need to respond.

I read an article on the Christian Post website today. Of all the places that I thought I would find such heresy, this was near last on my list. I have decided to deconstruct the article as best I can, and provide a measured response.

Readers are invited to reply, but please understand that I make my arguments from the Bible. This post is not the place to prove Christianity from the ground up, nor do I intend to do so. I will happily argue the Word of God on this subject, at least for a while (I have a life, you know).

So, without further ado, here is the response (with the article parts in quotes for ease of application (I have the right to reproduce for reasons of criticism); my response is underlined and in parentheses for the same reason):

"In my research and work as a counselor and psychology professor" (let me start off by saying that the psychology field is a dangerous place for Christians. Many of its leaders and even pioneers have a strikingly atheist background, evident in their work and theories. One must examine each authors work in light of scripture and leave behind what does not match a Christ-like mindset), "I have come across many misconceptions regarding homosexuality. In this brief article, I want to highlight three that are often relevant in Christian ministry.

One - All gay people are attracted to the same sex because they did not bond with their parents or were sexually abused.

Untold pain and confusion to parents and their same-sex attracted children has been caused by well-meaning writers and counselors" (these are your peers; what evidence do you have to trump their research and work?) "who promote this unsupported view of homosexual origins. The usual evangelical narrative is that persons attracted to the same sex did not get sufficient bonding or love from the same-sex parent and seek these experiences in the present via sexual relationships from members of the same sex. For males, the concept of an over involved, smothering mother is often thrown in as an additional family factor" (“thrown in” suggests negligence or even malevolence; a rather underhanded attack, in my opinion). "In addition, claims have been made that most if not all same-sex attracted people have been sexually abused.

The truth is that research on causal factors in sexual orientation is still in the early stages" (this research is, no doubt, primarily being done by non-Christians starting from a presupposition that homosexuality is not wrong, and, therefore, must be explained in a positive and behavior-affirming way (how many Christian psychologists have tenure, much less a research grant?). In this way, research is no less legitimate that anecdotal evidence). "However, we do know from experience that there are many same-sex attracted people who had loving homes and were not sexually abused or otherwise mistreated as children" (who is “we”, and where is the evidence of this experience?). "On the other hand, some say they believe their sexual desires were shaped in some way by unhappy growing up experiences. What we cannot identify with any certainty is why any given individual experiences same-sex sexual attractions" (what type of why are you looking for? There is a clear explanation in Romans 1 for the why in the general sense. The account in Romans 1 is Paul’s explanation to the Jews in Rome of the progression of evil in the Roman empire. He is summarizing the spiritual development of their environment, but the progression is universal as it is being played out again here and in Europe, as it was in ancient Greece as well. No doubt, with the proliferation of homosexual couples in the US, there will be many more next-gen homosexual adults with a multitude of nurtured proclivities toward perversion. They will, however, have all originated from the same source: the abandonment of God and His natural law. Also, I’d really appreciate some examples of the “experience” being alluded to but not shown. (The author cites example research by Wheaton College later, but just the one example)). "Recent research" (by whom? What are their religious and world view presuppositions?) "on twins suggests that pre-natal factors are associated with same-sex attraction" (This would be in contradiction to the Biblical account of its origins in Romans 1), "as are individual environmental experiences which vary among homosexuals. The best we can say at present is that different pre- and post-natal factors may operate differently in different people. For now, not only is it unnecessary to pigeon hole people, it can be harmful and intensely discouraging for parents and children alike to pursue therapy for non-existent problems of bonding or parenting. Where abuse or bonding problems exist, they should be addressed but successfully dealing with issues from the past will not of necessity lead to sexual reorientation." (if the problems from the past are what caused the perversion, then treating them is the first step to recovery)

Two - Gays can change if they try hard enough.

Closely related to the prior misconception" (this is a misnomer: the author has started with a grain of truth (homosexual sin may have more origins than a bad family life) and is trying to merge his success in the previous paragraphs with unsupported opinions in this one) "is the one the places the success of change squarely on the motivation of the same-sex attracted person." (upon whom else should we place the burden of change for an individuals behavior and thinking but the individual?) "Like cause of sexual orientation, the research on sexual re-orientation is marked by a paucity of research." (The research will only be effective if it’s done by a Christ-centered team interpreting their results through the Word of God) "Anecdotes of change abound, but so do anecdotes of those who have tried to change and did not." (That is why experience will never define truth. Everyone has a story to tell to prove their point, but the believer’s source of truth begins with the Word of God. We must interpret our lives and experiences through the Word to come to good conclusions. The Word would seem to say to those who tried but failed, “press on” (Galatians 5:16-25, Phil 3:12-14), if they are indeed His children. To those who do not belong to Him, it would say “see, you can’t do it on your own. Place your life in God’s hands and let Him transform you. ” (Romans 3)) "The most recent study conducted by Stanton Jones of Wheaton College and Mark Yarhouse of Regent University found that over three years, only 15% of homosexually attracted participants in Christian ministry reported the development of heterosexual attractions. Even many of these individuals continued to experience same-sex attractions. Most of the study participants reported satisfaction with their effort to remain true to a chaste life, but only a minority reported change." (There are several problems with blanketly charging the homosexuals in this study with failure: 1. Change takes time, and to assume that 3 years is enough for everyone to wipe every trace of perversion from their minds and hearts is to stand in ignorance of the scriptural definition of the process of salvation (I Peter 1:3-9, Phil 2:12-13). 2. We cannot know the hearts of all participants in this study. Especially without knowing those involved personally, or at least more details about their spiritual walk, it is impossible to make even the most rudimentary guess as to the spiritual state of these people’s hearts. Those who do not truly know Christ will most likely not change. Lastly, and this is not in reference to the participants but to the author’s accusation itself, one study is not enough evidence of anything. Being the most recent does not mean it trumps other research either. Ultimately, research that stands in opposition to scripture is inherently invalid, either by a flaw in the study process, or the approach of its progenitors (II Timothy 3:16). Challenging the truth of scripture is a futile process, and reveals a lack of faith in His Word).

"Three - The Christian response to homosexuality is to promote change of orientation.

Closely related to the above viewpoint, efforts to change sexual orientation have been advocated historically by many Christian ministries to homosexuals. However, the change is possible mantra has discouraged many Christian people who are sincere believers but simply find their brain responses remain directed toward the same sex" (Would the same, then, be true of people who find their brain responses directed toward sex outside of marriage, alcoholism, gambling, or drug abuse?). "However, in my view, the proper focus of Christian ministry is fidelity to the teachings of Christ which, in this case, may lead to a celibate life or an acceptance that same-sex attractions may persist unfulfilled alongside opposite-sex attractions and heterosexual marriage" (I find this remark especially revolting; even blasphemous. To say that one’s sin is evidence of the higher calling (I Cor 7:38) and gift (I Cor 7:7) of celibacy is a conclusion as perverted as the sin being discussed. By this same argument, homosexuals are more qualified for the Catholic priesthood than straights, yet the fathers’ notoriety has not been earned with little girls). "Some people may experience varying degrees of change, but any such change should not be considered a test of motivation or devotion to faith" (For every God given character trait, there is a sinful counterpart (contentment/greed, faith/doubt, hope/worry). Lust is a perversion of passion. It is a twisting by satan of a godly quality given to man to be fulfilled in marriage (and ultimately in our union with Christ (Eph 5:31,32)). Homosexual lust is a result of the same perversion, as is bestiality, pederasty, and every other conceivable corruption of God’s designation of coupling, and its solution is the same as well (I Cor 7:8-9)).

"This point is less a misconception than it is a statement of belief. Trusting Christ removes the penalty of sin but the act of conversion does not render anyone, gay or straight, a perfectly sinless, temptation-free person. We do not expect newly straight people to lose their sexual temptations, why would we expect same-sex attracted people to suddenly change?" (Who said we do? We do expect to see homosexual behavior stop (Heb 10:26), but I don’t know anyone who thinks the sinful mind of man is transformed overnight. Nevertheless, it is transformed (Phil 1:3-11)) "Heterosexuals cannot adopt "straight pride" when it comes to the sexual arena and expect to be taken seriously by already skeptical gays." (homosexuality used to be a shameful behavior kept quiet by the public understanding of its graphic perversity. This godly shame has been turned on its head by the gay community; in their sinful and corrupt state, they will not take any Biblical doctrine on homosexuality seriously. I am not aware of the “straight pride” campaign to which the author makes reference, but homosexuality is shameful, and it is our duty as purveyors of light to call a spade a spade (Eph 5:11-14))

"People who identify themselves as gay, lesbian and/or bisexual are wary of the Church due in part to the culture wars regarding status and marriage" (why is this relevant? Every wicked person can be wary of the church because their immoral acts are condemned by Christ and His people, but that doesn’t mean we don’t speak the truth, or fight for it in the public venue. We are obligated to seek God’s honor, both in our lives, and in the laws of our nation, as much as it is in our power to do so. Christ Himself CONDEMNED SIN both in individuals (John 8:11 (pay special attention to the last sentence)) and in the Jewish hierarchy held captive under Roman rule (John 8:1-9, Matt 23)). "Our gay neighbors are also offended by stereotypes regarding their family background, and the persistence and durability of sexual and emotional desire for same-sex relationships" (Not as much as God is offended by the durability of these sinful desires. I’m sure the author wants to glorify God, but he seems to put it a distant second to wanting homosexuals to feel comfortable in the church. Honor God before man (Deut 6:13)). "Without compromising doctrine, those working with same-sex attracted people should bring the good news of forgiveness and grace, unburdened by misconceptions, to those who often see the church as an enemy" (it seems that the writer is already compromising doctrine. Forgiveness and grace have no value if there is nothing for which to be forgiven. Sin must be wholly unacceptable in the believer’s life (Matt 5:48). The author seems to view the chasm between the stigma of homosexuality and the stigmas of pornography addiction, adultery, alcoholism, and other such commonplace invaders in the church as evidence that we should be just as soft on homosexual behavior, rather than treat the other more common sins of thought and deed as equally reprehensible).

My Conclusion:
I believe the author’s intent in the article is to encourage Christians to bear with their homosexuality-stricken brethren in love; not exasperating them with impatience and undue criticism. The problem, however, is that I see an undercurrent of sympathy beyond the common struggle to remove sin from our lives, leading to an unbiblical acceptance of behavior and thought. I can’t say it’s explicit in the article, but the author seems to imply that at least some homosexuals cannot change. Certainly, without the indwelling work of the Spirit, no godly change is possible in anyone, but with Christ, all things are possible (Mark 10:27). Change is, in fact, a hallmark of true believers (Col 1:21-23, Heb 6:1-12). To enable believers who struggle with homosexuality to continue in their sin by claiming this orientation to be inherent denies the power of Christ (I Cor 6:9-11), denies the Word of God (Rom 1:26,27), and destroys the believer! (Matt 18:6)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I'm outta here!

I've been in Japan for 3 years, and this Saturday, my visa will expire. So, I'm goin' home! That's right, back to the good ole' US of A. The wife will be following me shortly thereafter.

We had been seriously considering Brazil for some time, but, after a lot of thought and prayer, I came to the conclusion that the only way to change our situation was to further my education and facilitate a career in music. To that end, I will be applying to universities to study sound design and get the training and experience I need to be working in a studio.

We are seriously praying for acceptance at the right schools, and a speedy immigration process for Renata, my wife (she's from Brazil). We would most assuredly appreciate your prayers too!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Miracles Do Happen

This is worth the read.

It started almost 4 months ago. I woke up one morning, and my left ear felt like it was water-logged. I heard a low rumble in it for most of the day. I thought maybe the earplugs I was wearing were having some harmful side effects, so I stopped wearing them...for a while. Then, about a month later, it happened again. This time, I swore off earplugs at bedtime.
Then, about 2 months ago, it happened a third time, but I wasn't wearing earplugs. I thought it would go away like the other times, so I did nothing. The next morning, it was worse; more hearing loss, and the rumble was stronger.
That's when I went to the doctor. The hearing test revealed that I did, indeed, have reduced hearing in my left ear, especially in the lower frequencies. He prescribed some vitamins and a diuretic (whyyyyy?). He didn't say much at all, so I didn't feel reassured, and my wife, mother, and I prayed quite a bit.

Was this just a coincidence? The previous weekend, I had played "Give Him All the Glory" as special music for Tokyo Baptist Church. Many people told me how encouraged they were by the song; it was very encouraging to me to know that the music God had given me (the song and almost all of the words came during a 2-day fast) was having an impact; sort of a confirmation that this wasn't just a fun thing to do in my free time, but a gift that God intended to use in a big way. Was satan attacking me? The timing couldn't have been more suspicious. And, why would God give someone the gift of music and then take away their hearing? That just didn't make sense, especially after seeing the fruit borne from just one weekend of ministry.
This was an attack from satan, but what I didn't realize was that this form of attack was quite common. On a whim, I decided to look up my symptoms on the internet, and it popped up immediately: "sudden sensorineural hearing loss." People with this affliction lose their hearing in usually one ear within a matter of months; sometimes weeks. Occurring in approximately every 5000th person, it can be caused by any number of things from an infection, to poor blood flow around the inner ear, and pathology is difficult to determine. The only thing known to generically help is steroid treatment . . . w-w-whaaaa!!!? Where are my steroids!!??
I went back to the doctor the next day and politely suggested steroids, which I promptly received. I felt very insecure having the doctor actually follow my recommendations, so I went to another doctor within the week for a second opinion. He told me that the diagnosis was most likely correct and that I was receiving the appropriate treatment.
Alongside this Tokyo medical dance, I and my family were constantly in prayer. The more I learned about this sickness, the more I realized that the medical community had very little idea what they were doing. They had found a treatment that usually worked, with little idea why it worked (this, at least in the case of the doctors I had visited). My times in the Word led me to passages of healing and God's compassion for those in need. Of particular impact was the story of Lazarus (John 11:1-44); a man whom Christ brought back from the dead. Jesus told Martha that her brother Lazarus would rise from the dead, to which Martha replied "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."(v24) Jesus told her "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.(25,26)" He then proceeded to resurrect Lazarus.
Wow! We who believe God's blessings are only for the next life have got it all wrong! Christ came that we might have life, and abundant life right now! Christ fulfilled the law not just so that we would be free from it's penalties, but that we might enjoy it's blessings as well. His acts of healing are not just confirmation of the gospel; they're genuine love. Why then, should they be limited to evangelistic events? The answer is, "they're not."

For weeks, I prayed quite frequently (I had a constant reminder to do so on the left side of my head). My wife and her mother were both miraculously healed from dire afflictions while in Brazil (more on that in another post), so I had immediate evidence of God's continued manifest power. My hearing got worse, then better, then worse, then better. I found out that this was symptomatic of my sickness, but it was nonetheless a discouraging experience for someone seeking healing. I persisted in prayer, seeking the Lord for strength whenever the urge came to feel depressed. Gradually, the rate and depth of my hearing loss-return began to diminish until it remained fairly steady for a full week.
That weekend, I had agreed to play bass for a gospel performance at a healing service in Saitama (I had agreed to play months before this without knowing that it was a healing service). Even though my hearing was not so up and down anymore, it was still at about a 30 decibel reduction in the damaged ear. I was looking forward to the event, remarking at the providential arrangement, and expecting God to work His miracle through the bishop (Church of God Mission International).
I had become quite sensitive to loud noises, trying to protect my ear whenever possible to avoid further aggravation of the cochlea, and man, was this place ever loud! I wore noise canceling headphones throughout the performance to soften the sound, and also stayed near the rear of the congregation when we weren't performing. Then, the time came to come forward if you wanted to receive healing. I was the last person that the bishop touched. I was asked what my affliction was, to which I replied "I've been losing hearing in my left ear". The bishop then proceeded to shout healing in the name of Jesus into my ear . . . I was mortified. As I walked back to my seat, ear ringing, I wondered if I had just made the worst mistake possible. The choir director, who knew of my hearing problem, told me that he, too, was shocked by the bishop's choice of remedy. Was God going to use this to heal me, or heal me in spite of it?
I still don't know. What I do know is that at my last checkup, the hearing in my left ear was only 5 decibels lower than in the right. There's no more up and down, and I haven't been using the steroids for a month. The medicine can't be credited with the restoration; only God. What I didn't tell you is that as well as being the 1 in 5000 who got this affliction, I was also the 1 in 10 after that who didn't respond to the steroid treatment. Once your hearing returns from using the steroids, that should be it; it should remain recovered after that. Only the blessed few continue to lose their hearing after the initial introduction of steroids, and the treatment can't be renewed but for a short time because of the ear's adaptive dependence on the drug to maintain regular hearing. It's like breathing for someone else; you shouldn't do it too long or the other person risks being unable to resume normal breathing on their own.
Therefore, God gets the credit; all of it! And, you know what? It doesn't matter if the medicine worked or not; God is the one who heals. Doctors can't guarantee a single operation; do you know why? Because there's always the chance that something can go wrong; they just don't know, but God knows. Thank your doctors for their help when you're sick, but give the glory to God. He is the great physician; He is the healer.

Thank you, God for restoring my hearing!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sweet Freedom and the Shackles of Gospel Bass

This month is summer break for my students, so it is for me as well!!!
All in all, it's been a pretty good month. I decided to give some more time to the church, since I had the weeks to myself. I started playing bass for them, and they asked me to play for their fall concert. This is great, however it's gospel music, which means it's pretty mother-lovin'-spoonful hard!

There're three songs with walking bass; I've never played walking bass. Let me tell you, you gotta know where you are, where you're goin' and how to get there (I'm talkin' chords here). Basically, I ended up memorizing what the guy did on the CD, cuz I have no clue how to do it myself. Hopefully, as I learn more walking bass songs, I'll start to see a pattern. Hopefully, that will also mean that this first walking bass song will be the hardest to learn; it's taken me about two weeks at no more than 30 seconds at a time. Although the chord progression is the same throughout, he never plays the same bass line twice; I guess that's what makes him good.

I've always admired jazz players because of their jedi-like ability to see beforehand where the chords are going to go (they usually pick the scale based on the chord they're currently using), and that usually being a whole lot more than I-IV-V. Now, I'm garnering the same respect (maybe a little less) for walking bass players. Using their midichlorians, they see the locations of the notes of their next chord, how many steps between the next chord and their present chord, and which notes (often chromatic) they can use to reach said chord. That, coupled with a phenomenal memory of which paths they have taken previously, leads to a level of appreciation for the art of bass playing which I had not held previously.

I hope some of these skills will translate well to the guitar; I've already seen some useful cross-over between these sister instruments.

Stop by my myspace page and be my friend!!!!!!
God bless!

Monday, July 17, 2006

New location

Hey folks,
I finally got around to getting a music account! There are three songs available for download; one of them having been just recently finished. I like the name "drasticontrast", so that's gonna be the name for the band (there's no band; it's just me. I needed to make a name, though). Anyhoo, check it out here. As soon as I remember how to edit HTML, I'll put it on the right panel, too. Please pray for this, if you will; I'd love for it to be a blessing to people. I'd also love to do it full-time someday.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The First of Many, Part I

Hey Folks,
I was writing an email to a friend in Augusta, and the things I was writing started to sound like they belonged on a blog. I continued to write, then copy and paste to this site, when the power in our apartment went out. I'm losing my belief in coincidences these days, so I'm convinced that satan doesn't want these things published. I am therefore, trying to restore my thoughts and rewrite what was lost. I apologize if the words don't come to me as effectively as they did the first time. This ended up being very long, so I split it into 3 parts.

This is a confession. This is my heart. This is a prayer request. This is who I am right now.

I'm up and I'm down. For example,
I was not overwhelmed when my junior high school here called my boss and complained that I was going home early, when my contract clearly states that I am to recieve no more than 30 hours of work per week, not even when the company called me and told me I would have to stay until 5:00 every day regardless of my contract, because, basically, they didn't want to offend the school. I prayed to God for deliverance from the abuse of my employer when I had things to do at home, like take care of my family and, Lord willing, record. I asked others to pray for me as well, hopeful of God's provision and mercy.

Then, this week, when I was about to record, the computer shut down, and I freaked out. I tried to restart it, but not a single light would come on. I was certain that God had pulled a Job on me, and that I would spend the rest of my days doing jobs that I hate; never seeing my musical labor come to fruition. I went into the bedroom furious, frustrated, and bound for depression. Unbeknownst to me, my wife and her sister went into the kitchen to pray. A little while later, I returned to the music room, determined to restart the project from scratch, with the full intention of buying a new computer (minimum $1500). As a one-last-try, I decided to replace the battery in the computer...and it came on.

Instantly, I felt humbled, relieved, embarrassed, and, honestly, aggravated. As I saw my 90 degree gradient lack of faith, I wondered if I would ever be capable of passing God's tests with any amount of frequency. How could I believe that He would deliver me from one thing and not another? Recently, I've been reminded of Elijah, and how, after demonstrating the power of God so miraculously and having the prophets of Baal slaughtered, he ran for his life at the threats of Jezebel. I used to wonder, "how stupid do you have to be to drop God at the threat of one woman after defeating hundreds by His power alone?" I now have the answer.

Even today, the power failure made me furious; like God couldn't restore to my mind the things I had written before if they were important enough to post.

The First of Many, Part II

I want so desperately for this music to come from the right spirit in many ways. First, I want the songs themselves to come from the Spirit as much as possible. Any time music or lyrics come faster than normal, I am now inclined to give credit to the Spirit of God for inspiration. As an example, the song that I'm recording now came in two days while I was fasting. I was not fasting to recieve a song, but God gave me a song just the same. The most recent composition contains lyrics that I am convinced were "put" in my head. I may find time to elaborate on this particular occurence in a future installment.

Secondly, I want these songs to reflect my life, or to at least be a prayer to live in the same way. My countenance becomes so dark so quickly, that there may be more occasions than not that I lack that desire, let alone the capability. Many times I just want to shout and throw something or destroy something; that is from the devil, and it is a place to which I have found a very short route. Often, I see myself in the mirror, and I understand why people do and want to turn away and immediately forget what they look like; who wants to see that filth! I am also finding shorter and shorter lengths of time to be the battle grounds, with more and more defense and preparation required to overcome them or pass through unscathed. Even a fantastic quiet time in one day cannot be the single climactic event for my spirit in order to be successful in battle for the 24 hours. The more I look, the more I see where satan is trying to attack, and it's, frankly, fearful and overwhelming.

This segues well into my third point; I want every aspect of the recording to be of the Spirit. I am not fully there yet, but I am coming to the conclusion that the spirit of a performance, not just the technical and tonal aspects of it, can be captured in a recording. To that end, I want to preface every recording session with time spent with God in His Word. Coming to the throne before coming to the studio promotes an awareness of the real purpose of the recording; to glorify God. I do think that God blesses a recording when it's done with the right attitude, but even more that the listener, perhaps unconsciously, is assisted to that sweet place of worship when every track, every "bit" is recorded in Spirit and truth. That means that if I've had a fight with my wife, then I need to get right with her before I start recording. If I've unconfessed sin, then that's going to hinder the music from reaching its apex.

The First of Many, Part III

It is this final point that I want to emphasize. There are these fine details of the music that should belong to God, but we're not going to hear them come through when the whole system that births them is defunct. I think Christian music has turned as cold as the secular recording companies that parent it. I think it's nothing more than a money-making scheme for a lot of people, and, for those for whom it is a serious ministry, it's a mine-field of temptation and diminished returns. Did you know that every church that uses any contemporary worship music must pay a minimum of $100 to an organization called the CCLI? If we don't pay money to these "temple merchants", they will sue the church for violation of copyright.

Although not started for entirely the right reasons, the Reformation freed us who are Protestant from a corrupt regime and authority structure. It may very well have been possible to reform the Catholic church from within, but I really doubt it. I have recently begun to feel the same way about Christian music. It is managed under a corrupt and unredeemable structure. We have modeled our businesses after the world, and the world's mark on Christian music is unmistakeable; what a huge mistake! The heart of Christian music is corrupt; with the goal of making money trumping the worship of the Lord.

But, the good news is, we don't have to do it their way. There are General Public Licenses available for music, with no restrictions on performance, arrangement, or copying (only on credit for the composition); we can compose music that is free for all to sing and play! Home studios, with the right equipment and technical know-how, can produce competitive-quality CDs. We have an awesome distribution system called the internet; anyone in the world with a connection can share in the joy of worship with those who freely give it.

The catch is, we cannot use their music; it must be our own. It is illegal to copy or distribute their stuff without their permission, and they won't give it if they don't make any money. It is illegal to make a CD of Christian music for your unsaved friends to use as a witnessing tool. You can't even translate a copyrighted song without explicit permission from the copyright holder. No, it will be the people without recording contracts that bless others with their original music and worship, and, Lord willing, it will be that music that God uses to honor Himself all over the world.

If we put the glory of God before all things, including our own financial security, how much more will God honor our offering and take care of us? Are not the storehouses of heaven infinitely greater than our own? Let us offer our worship to those who cannot afford to pay, and provide the means to be payed if someone wishes to support our ministry. The musician has recieved a gift from the Lord and a privilege to assist in worship. Freely you have recieved; freely give.