The Cross is a Heavy Burden to Bear

Today I got a VERY SMALL taste of what Jesus went through. I carried a cross.

I have been helping a friend build a float for the Beaverton parade. One of the components of the float is a cross to symbolize Jesus. The sponsoring church had two large crosses stored on an adjoining property that I could use. I had to deliver a cross to my work site to be sure it would fit in the wood structure.

I have lifted crosses many times before. My beloved Ethnos Church had a very cool Stations of the Cross event for a number of years, and the last two years I was heavily involved in the event. Even on Sunday services we would often decorate with large props like crosses, and I was part of the service set up team. Needless to say I carried some crosses!

Ethnos Church Stations of the Cross - Jesus Bears the Cross
Here is the page out of the booklet I designed for Ethnos Church Stations of the Cross. I couldn’t find a good photo of the station itself.

Among the fourteen Stations of the Cross is one where you can lift a full size cross to get a sense of its weight. The point is to feel the weight of what Jesus Christ did to pay the price for our sins. The event offers many other similar activities which are useful for stimulating introspective thought, thanks and worship.

Lifting one side of the cross for a brief moment at Stations of the Cross is very different than carrying one a few hundred yards down the street. We intentionally used one of the lighter crosses for the previously described station at Ethnos Church… just big enough to give a small sense of heaviness. The one I carried today was much bigger and heavier. Ugh!

Cross stored by shed
Here is the cross in its original storage place.

Today I had perhaps three choices when I saw this cross sitting by the shed:

  1. Call a friend and have them help me carry or truck the cross to my work site.
  2. Carry it but think nothing of it or imagine what others would think – a funny and bizarre sight to see someone carrying a cross down the street – and laugh at myself a bit.
  3. Take it as an opportunity to reflect and pray.

I chose #3. As I carried the 8 foot cross down the street (huffing and puffing, taking very frequent breaks, and it killed my shoulder!), I once again considered when Jesus carried the cross long ago. According to a quick search, He carried it a distance under a mile – let’s say a half mile. This after being beaten nearly to death, with deep and gory lacerations all over his body and severe blood loss. He lacked proper sustenance. People screamed at him and mocked him. The mental and spiritual anguish must have been great! The rugged beam that Jesus carried most likely weighed over a hundred pounds. I don’t think my cross was that heavy, though wimpy me imagined it was! I had to stop a bunch of times and change positions a lot.

Taking a break while carrying cross down the street
I took many breaks while carrying the cross down the street.

After getting the cross to my work area, I was pretty tired. After the delivery I had to pick it up and lay it down a dozen times while fastening various supporting braces around it. Each time I lifted the cross it seemed to get heavier! I finally finished the supporting structure.

By the end of the evening, after six or seven hours of work, I hadn’t taken the cross down yet. Before leaving I thought it good to lower it to the ground to lessen the chance people might “mess with it” during the night. This meant lifting it out of a very snug slot perfectly gripping its sides all around with massive friction.

Lifting the heavy 8 foot cross out of that tightly wedged hole was literally one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I was so physically drained after finally removing it that I immediately had to go to the ground. Fortunately my incomplete float structure made for a perfect “altar”. I placed a board under my knees, “Catholic style”, and literally laid face first upon the makeshift altar. My head was pounding with pulsing ache, and I was exhausted.

Cross wedged in parade float structure
Cross wedged tightly in parade float structure

This exercise, though not pleasant, was a very good time of reflection. I believe God carried me through it, and my back endured it all. This float building experience has been a very spiritual one from the start. Many analogies have come to mind. Here I am, building a boat in the heat of summer. At least two friends who helped provide tools and company commented something about Noah and the flood!

Can you imagine how insane Noah looked to his neighbors? In today’s society (maybe especially “weird” Portland), people often ignore weird stuff. No one stopped to look, smile or ask questions. I even carried the cross on the sidewalk closely past a lady and her dog. She didn’t even say anything or gesture my existence at all. The dog probably reacted more than her master! Not that I was looking for attention (not at all), but I find it funny how oblivious and distant people have become these days. Community and neighbors aren’t what they used to be! People are losing their social skills and getting all paranoid or too busy to interact with others. OK, let’s recover from this social commentary rabbit trail.

I’m very thankful that God became a man – Jesus – and took the punishment for my sin. The rightful punishment from God for even one small sin is DEATH. This is why all men die – we have inherited the nature of the first sinner, Adam. Otherwise we would all walk with God and live forever. I’m thankful that Jesus conquered death by coming back to life after His death. I’m thankful He returned to the Father and offers His Spirit to live in and guide us.

The deeds of God require a response. We must believe all His words, repent from our sins, and follow Him. It’s what we were ALL made for – by Him, for Him and through Him! Unfortunately very few people realize their purpose and even less choose it. I hope not to miss my purpose. I hope the LORD counts me among His family. I believe it is true because He said so. The rest of my life I will continually attempt to allow His fruit and His Spirit to be born and grown in me. And I wish the same for everyone, for so does my Master.

For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:5

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:23-26

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.” Matthew 10:34-40

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. eloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 1 John 3:1-6

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I am willing to accept all the ridicule that comes along with saying I am His follower. Why should I be ashamed of the name of the Almighty Creator, the Highest King who has claimed me as His son? Good questions. Sometimes I don’t act as if those things are true. That is a shame. Change my heart, oh God.

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” John 1:43

Make Me a Channel of Your Peace

I have not written here in a very long time. Lots of stuff is happening in my life. I won’t get into it because it’s a long story. Nevertheless, I want to share a song that describes some of what is “adding to the mix” of positive change for me, praise be to God.

Like Susan Boyle, Carrie Underwood, and many others, Andrew Johnston gained his fame while auditioning on a TV talent reality show. He made his debut on Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent in 2008. I viewed Andrew’s audition on Youtube like so many others when it first became a meme.

I completely forgot about Andrew until stumbling across his songs again several weeks ago. I encountered his music at just the right moment because I was impressed enough to investigate further. I like Andrew’s singing so much I ordered his CD, One Voice. I only expand my collection rarely for music that really impacts me, same as when I buy a book. Music for me is a tool for spiritual growth and relaxation. My favorite songs on Andrew’s album include Walking in the Air, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace, Pie Jesu, Agnus Dei, and Panis Angelicus. Supposedly Simon Cowell selected the tracks to include. I wouldn’t expect him to choose such nice songs, especially of a deep and religious persuasion – but you never know!

I want to make a special note of the song, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace. I absolutely love it! Andrew’s song is a hymn rendition of a prayer entitled The Prayer of Saint Francis. St. Francis of Assisi has made an impact on me more than once – not because I’ve studied his life or read his works. Most people know a bit about what he did and have a general knowledge of his lifestyle. This limited knowledge has been enough to challenge and inspire me.

The Prayer of Saint Francis, whether written by Francis of Assisi or not, is very powerful. If a person meditates on the words and considers how he might apply them, it will likely change his life forever. Read the Wikipedia article and you will find yourself in good company for appreciating the song.

I have been blasted by the power of this prayer’s words. My spiritual walk is ever changing, and I hope the guiding directions are from the Lord Jesus (Proverbs 3). God is seemingly leading me toward a radical lifestyle. As I read and hear omnidirectional catalysts that inspire, I am forced to take seriously all that it means to follow Christ. I pray that everyone who claims His name will do the same. You are called to nothing less!

Make Me a Channel of Your Peace has been important as I pray over cities and people. Listen to Andrew Johnston’s beautiful rendition on Youtube. It seems I cannot tire of it no matter how many times I listen. I have adopted the words into my own prayers while going on recent neighborhood prayer walks.

When you consider and pray these words humble yourself. Let Jesus’ incarnational work be realized in the way you live – if you are indeed in Christ. May He use us all – for our good and for His glory. Amen.

Make Me a Channel of Your Peace

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord
And where there’s doubt, true faith in you

Oh Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love with all my soul

Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there’s sadness, ever joy

Oh Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love with all my soul

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there’s sadness, ever joy

Oh Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love with all my soul

Make me a channel of your peace
For when we give, we will ourselves receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And in dying that we gain eternal life
And in dying that we gain eternal life

Theology That Actually Knows Him For a Change

First off, I have to say I wrote the following late last night in a text editor. I don’t presently have internet at home, but I was stirred to stay up very late and get some of this stuff down. I’ll probably leave it raw as I originally wrote, instead of doing my normal dozen or more edits. This writing is mostly for my own personal growth and learning, and who knows if it’s valuable for anyone else. I simply need to “write down my ideas” as Mrs. McCormick would say – as I have learned it is necessary for my mental, emotional and spiritual health. I’m a fragile man, and I need this sort of process.

Here’s some links:

http://www.amazon.com/Shai-Linne/e/B001LHI0V2

http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/shai-linne/id166107762

http://lyricaltheology.blogspot.com/

http://www.myspace.com/shailinne

http://twitter.com/#!/shailinne

http://www.lampmode.com/artists/shai-linne/

I am proud to call Shai Linne “brother”, and my primary hope through someone reading this is that you will decide to buy his incredible album(s). After doing a quick search for an image of this impressive dude, I’m pleased to place a face with a name for the first time. Something about his appearance makes me glad I investigated. His face shines with the same energy that blasts through his lyrics. Yup, he’s surely authentic! So on with my stream of consciousness rambling already…

I hesitate to post a review of Shai Linne’s latest album release, “The Attributes of God”, for no reason other than the sense that my description will be very inadequate. I will attempt to use my words to express how my heart and mind feel about this album. After the messy cloud of letters spills onto the screen I will have said basically nothing. If anyone comes across this and reads a bit, the shortest way of expressing what I want to say is, “Buy the album”.

No joke. Everything I can possibly write will sound childish, as if I’m regurgitating what has already been said. I can’t form sentences that describe the depth of how I feel after having listened through the tracks several times today. Just know that if you purchase “The Attributes of God” by Shai Linne, the spiritual rewards available for you to reap are so plentiful that you might actually feel guilty for trying to find the cheapest format, be it CD or MP3 download. It is a masterpiece of epic proportion.

My good friend Dave lent his early purchase copy of “The Attributes of God” a couple days ago. He knew I would probably like it because the first time he let me borrow “The Atonement” by Shai Linne, and I immediately bought my own copy and raved about it for a long time. Though others might disagree (I can’t really see how this is possible, but we are all unique), I would argue this newest album easily eclipses the other.

Yes, as in Shai Linne’s “The Atonement”, “The Attributes of God” has an immediately recognizable Reformist Theology tinge or persuasion. I don’t wish to make it sound I am against this movement, because I really am not. I won’t necessarily outline if I agree with all the movement’s theological points because I think that is horribly unimportant.

I can say, however, that I have had a run in with a pretty large number of Reformist Theology ruffians through social networking. That exposure left a horribly bad taste in my mouth because the majority of these people exert what appears to me to be a desire to exert or prove oneself pridefully through off-putting pragmatism, rather than what might be called the “sweet and irresistible aroma” of what in my opinion is a sure evidence of the presence of the Spirit in Word and resulting action.

Sometimes these same well-meaning fellows (they are almost invariably men, often young) speak with such passion in their dogma that even the Scripture they claim to hold in high regard is tainted and profaned through these brothers’ use of raised tempers, words of hate, elitism, and even curses (yes, I’ve witnessed such :(). It makes me sad to see something so beautiful corrupted in application. I don’t understand how a high reverence for Truth could result in such a antithetical and prideful attitude. It is because of this pungent, flaming cloud surrounding many of Reformist Theology’s peon followers (the leaders tend to be more gracious from my observation), that I myself cannot with clear conscience blindly follow or jump on the bandwagon. Anything sourced in the Truth should also have visible manifestations of character that are in line with the very Truths, for example the fruit of the Spirit, humility, grace, and other Biblical virtues.

I do not deny the truth found in many of Reformist Theologians’ statements and what they think to be unique or enlightening angles. The very same are even valuable for faith, practice, assurance and discipleship – if employed properly. I highly respect the expressions and ideas that come straight from the Bible, but not those that are “mere” Calvinism, Reformist Theology, or any other named thing that seeks to claim equality or supremacy over the Word itself, or rather Himself. Such exaltation of men’s words is nothing short of idolatry. I don’t speak this way because I wish to exalt myself above these brothers. It is more a loving correction that I hope can be taken well. I cherish the faithfulness these brothers have to preservation of doctrinal truth. I just wish it could be done across the board in a more loving, and pardon the cliche, Christ-like manner (not that His holy Name can ever truly be cliche).

I realize this is a horrible tangent from the album review, but that’s how I write, and I feel it’s important background information for what I’m about to say. No one reads my blog anyway, so it doesn’t really matter how disjointed my writing is.

Back to Shai Linne. “The Atonement” had a very, very trace scent in my nose of that whole elitist, look at my revelation bent. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Shai Linne ever crossed the line that I spoke of above. In fact, I think he was incredibly judicious and wise in the way he applied his theology and wrote his songs. Amazing, in fact. But that earlier album did have a bit more of that whole Reformist aura (but in a generally good way, by my entirely subjective assessment).

“The Atonement” might have got a little sidetracked in its mission (to present Christ and His work as awesome as well as irresistible), but only a little. “The Attributes of God” didn’t do this at all. In fact, this second album is an absolute masterpiece. I’ve rarely encountered something more beautiful. I’m not exaggerating. This is my honest opinion, nothing held back.

Every aspect of “The Attributes of God” makes theology transparent, which in my opinion is genius. Theology is clinical and stale in its modern form. It’s just fancy words really. It’s stuff to stimulate the mind and make a person want to impress others with “higher understanding”. Not inherently bad, but shouldn’t be the goal. “The Attributes of God” offers some of the highest and purest theology I’ve ever seen. Just as true religion is not a list of does and don’ts, but rather faith, righteousness and charity in action… so too is theology not merely knowing OF God, but knowing the taste of His love and presence.

“The Attributes of God”, in every carefully crafted word, transported my heart and mind into the presence and love of God and His Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit present in the work. No, this album is not to be glorified as canon next to Scripture… but it cannot be denied that God was present in helping Shai Linne and his friends craft it. It’s too wonderful a work of art to be entirely of human conception. Shai Linne is careful to both take credit if it fails and give glory to God if it succeeds. And let me tell you, friends, it brings GLORY to God. Woah!

It’s kind of interesting. After listening to the whole thing several times I started making a mental list of things it does magnificently. Basically, you could say that I “reverse engineered” the mission statement of the album instinctively, without effort in doing so. I’ve never tried to do such a thing, it simply happened. All I was doing was describing to myself and thanking the Spirit directly how the songs blessed me.

Without going into great detail, this album ushered me into a higher love of God through a remembrance of all the core, powerful truths of His message and being. From the very first utterance I was literally in tears and almost transported to a different plain of reality. I’m not getting mystical, cuz that’s not how I roll. I’m just saying that the truths were so powerfully and concisely stated in the songs that I was completely blasted, losing sight of ordinary and mundane things. Kinda like the old song, “and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of Your glory and grace” (one of my favorites, by the way, especially he Newsboys version).

I could go on and on about this, but the most interesting thing is that I’ve never seen anything meet its goals so well. I only know this because after making a mental list of the things this album “did to me”, I went back and read the CD insert. The first page is Shai’s statement about what he was trying to do. I was astounded that my mental list was nearly identical to his list of goals. I almost wish I would have written them down before I read his statement, because the resemblance was uncanny. Well done, man. I’m truly shocked at how you’ve been used in this production – as well as all others involved. The Spirit is present in your work.

A couple specifics:

Undoubtedly, my favorite song is the first track, “Perfection of Beauty”. It’s not even a song, really. I’d call it more of a poem, or perhaps prose. It is the most masterfully written and performed thing I’ve perhaps ever heard. I’ve listened to it several times, and each time from word one I’m transported into an emotional wreck I cannot describe. By wreck I mean crushed, convicted, and yet full of hope, joy and light. It’s something I’ve only experienced before when in close communion with the Spirit. It’s something I cannot reproduce by effort. He simply allows Himself to be encountered in unexpected ways, and this was one of those great times. I have a LOT to say about this first song, but I can’t bear to hear how many are my own words. I hope people will just listen to it and be graced in a similar way – or in a different but just as beautiful way to your own unique soul. Those that know me closely will probably understand why this song affects me so. Probably a different song, or “attribute of God” will speak strongly to you, because we are all so uniquely made. I’m happy and thankful for that! If you listen to the CD, I’d be very interested in hearing which song strikes you most and why. I love to learn from other’s personal impressions, experiences and insights.

What first struck me about the “Perfection of Beauty” track was the intonation of the words and phrases so beautifully uttered. What a stunning voice! Ironically, though this is a Shai Linne album, my favorite song is written and performed by Shai’s wife, Blair. There’s something magical about the way she communicates this concept of beauty. It is also somehow way more fitting to hear these words from a woman. It becomes more real and powerful. Yes, men could have similar thoughts I suppose. But women, who often struggle with attacks at their image, are SO in need to hear this song… and to hear it spoken by a woman breaks my heart and heals it at the exact same moment. Tears fill my eyes again just thinking about it. This song might very well be the closest thing I’ll ever witness to “beauty, personified”, except that moment when we actually see Jesus Himself. This song restores what is broken, as do all the songs. We have our misguided thoughts about God and His ways, and these songs remind us of those basic truths we all state… but forget to actually believe and act upon. Oh hope, that we can actually be impacted again by things that have become too common in our religious vocabulary. Experience them again fresh in this astounding album!

The other thing about this song that is kinda weird to say is that I hear the voice of a mother. I’m not going to exude much from that odd statement other than this: The voice I hear sounds like a mother who would love you and correct you in love, no matter what bad and difficult things happen to you as a child. Like the voice of someone you can admire, someone you can aspire to be like when you grow up. This is not necessarily detected in the words of the song (though perhaps that too), because that’s not so much the subject matter. It’s more the voice itself. The intonation, influx, passion and character of the syllables somehow communicate the care, compassion and nurturing spirit of not only a Spirit-filled woman of beauty, but the same who is or should be a mother. Curious by this unprecedented impression, I looked at Shai’s opening statement to find that he and Blair are newlyweds. Congratulations! (not that they’ll likely read this) I assume no kids yet. But let me tell you, I hope this impression is some sort of discernment delivery system… and if so, I’ll bet the couple will have a beautiful family – and that Blair will be an exemplary mother. I will pray to this effect, a blessing of sorts on this new family.

After that favorite track, I can’t necessarily say which is my second favorite. Each of them has “hit me” really hard/gently (like t’ai chi… grounded and powerful, yet simultaneously flowing and graceful). Sometimes I’ll notice something different that absolutely crushes and builds me, and next time through a different song will do it. Probably the most consistent for me is track 7, “Lord of Patience”. I am absolutely struck by this song, dumbfounded even. I don’t even know what to say. There are countless lines that are masterfully crafted and heart blasting. One of those lines is, ”

Ironically, there a couple “reactive” moments that are among the most strong lyrics. For example, some of the casual echoing “yes”s and “yeah”s are abnormally powerful (normally they can be obnoxiously overused to me… like Kirk Franklin’s “primary role” in many of his songs… sorry, Kirk! Brother!). Because the whole time you can’t help but say the same agreeing statements… or perhaps just “wow”. I’m a timid and quiet person, but I want to dance, shout and jump because it’s so ridiculous! “We truly need Your Holy Spirit!” “So patient, Lord!” “Why?!” “Help us!”(examples of echoes that strike me, wow! Um, power?). Another of those similar surprising moments is when a guy (Shai? not sure) starts laughing goofily. Normally it would seem out of place, but it is clearly just an authentic, inevitable reaction to the truths eloquently and worshipfully expressed… and the laugh is infectious! I smile, even laugh in joy when I hear it. Awesome.

Now some about the art form of choice. Hip hop. I don’t know CRAP about any music, much less hip hop. Seriously. I’m the least trendy, least hip and least educated person on earth when it comes to music (and fashion, and whatever else). I listen primarily to pretty old stuff. So it surprises me to be so struck by this form. Not that hip hop shouldn’t be respected. Much the opposite. In fact, from cursory observation I’d argue it is one of the highest literary art forms known to man. If you think differently, I think you can be convinced otherwise, especially if you listen to people like Shai Linne.

Seriously, the rhythms, meter, rhymes, word pictures, advanced structures potentially utilized in hip hop? I’m not even joking or exaggerating when I say these are considerably more advanced than most poetry, prose, song-writing, literature, whatever written form, whatever age of human history. Basically think of an advanced drum solo. All those hits perfectly timed. Replace each of those detailed taps with syllables and sentences that flow and have deep meaning? I studied basic English in school like everyone else. Boring “famous” poetry, even Shakespeare with his advanced structures… I wouldn’t put hip hop below any of that. None of those fogies could scratch the surface of what is done by wordsmiths like a few select hip hop artists.

I’ve done a fair amount of writing myself. It’s all crap compared to most, but I’ve written poetry and other junk. It takes a lot of skill to keep a consistent beat, rhyme and other mechanics. Most of the time you find yourself having to throw in some dumb phrase or word just to keep it going, and you feel like you just graduated from preschool when you read it back to yourself… and you slam your face against the wall in shame until you shred the piece of paper or burn it so no one finds the evidence. The thing about Shai’s hip hop mastery… it reads straight through like flawless sentences, but not just regular ones. No, each line is stunning. Many are straight Scriptures or adaptions of the same truths. It’s nuts to be able to combine all those elements. It’s an astounding talent that should be revered. But of course to God be the glory!

I can’t say how many times I heard a line in these tracks and said, “WOW!” or “I can’t believe I just heard that!” or simply dropped my jaw helplessly. Such is the art form of well executed hip hop poetry. It really should be revered not downplayed.

Unfortunately hip hop has a bad rap (pun intended), and rightfully so. Even Shai or other Christian meter masters would admit their secular counterparts construct some pretty filthy and violent lines. The majority of this style of music attracts musicians who sing about sex, violence, cursing every other word. It’s offensive. I can’t even bear to listen to 15 seconds of it in fact. But when the skills are redeemed by those with higher skills AND Spirit power… you get something amazing. A true art form. I think even an old person could analyze the literary quality and agree fully… even start grooving to it like lame ole me!

I actually scanned the pages of the CD insert, traced them to vector, and printed them really small on my laser printer… to fit in my journal. I want to write more about it, but not bore you all with it. But it would be very profitable to reflect more on this stuff. It’s amazing. I also like to record life-altering writings like this so I can look back later and remember when/why I started growing and learning… and re-experience some of it when I later get rigid, cold and forgetful of spiritual things. It inevitably happens 🙁 I hate the human nature of flesh. I cannot make myself care or respond sometimes, no matter how much my spirit wants to break free to love the Lord of Hosts and give all my energies toward His call.

K, it’s getting late, and my writing is getting even worse… if that is even possible. I’m massively tired. I wanted to write a TON of other stuff, but my mind is barely grasping consciousness.

One of the other things I wanted to mention… now in sloppy note form… is that this album is one of the most concise presentations of the Gospel and general overview of the Word I’ve ever seen. It’s not “better” than Scripture by any means. But it takes a lot of the most powerful meat and condenses it in poetry form. Wow. It might even help me figure out how to share the things I have literally hidden in my heart and can never recall with nervous, stuttering lips, when I want to share the love I know with others… to my shame. Hopefully this can give me one step in the right direction… all because of the faithfulness of a highly respected brother in Christ.

contacts fusing to eyes… zzzzz….