Music and Art Monday, August 6th, 2018: Culture and Christianity

How are Christians supposed to interact with culture? Are they supposed to ignore it? Avoid it? Yell at it?

A couple of things got me thinking about this topic over the weekend. One was a Facebook post complaining about Christians who watch Harry Potter or listen to Black Sabbath or appreciate other “things of darkness.” Another was an interview with Alistair Begg about the Beatles.

The first took the position that we are supposed to avoid all the “darkness” of the world. They quoted 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

The second took the position that we ought to know the culture we live in. We ought to be intimate with it so we can engage it with truth. We should analyze culture to learn it’s theology and understanding of humanity.

Which do I agree with?

Well, I do agree with scripture that we should not be unequally yoked. We should not marry a non-believer, we should avoid serving two masters, we cannot follow both the world and God.

But I don’t think that means completely shutting out the culture around us. If the separator is going to be completely consistent he would need to avoid working for non-Christians or even working with them. He would need to be like the Pharisees and wash up every time he came in contact with a non-believer. The whole world is dark. We aren’t called to hide from the dark or completely avoid the dark, we couldn’t do it if we tried.

We are instead called to be light in the darkness. We are to shed light on the lies of Satan. And we can’t very well do that if we bury our head in the sand and have no clue what lies are going around.

In his interview, Begg quoted John Lennon as saying that the lyrics to “Help” were a subconscious cry from his heart. But no Christian of the day was reaching out to him with truth and light. No Christian responded with the Biblical definition of love when “All You Need Is Love” came out either. It was a great opportunity to show what real love is but it was missed.

It’s much the same today. We would rather chastise the unsaved than respond to them with truths. We would rather wear our spotless robes of piety and keep our distance from the world than risk getting muddy with those in it. It’s easier to yell at the darkness and deride it than it is to correct it.

Jesus went to the world. He spoke to the worldly and the pious both. He was not afraid of being soiled by the darkness, because He always had the light of truth with Him.

As Christians, we too should not fear the dark. We should instead shine a light into it. In order to do that we have to see the darkness and know it well.

And that may mean we have to get our hands dirty. It may mean that we read books with certain uncomfortable themes or listen to the lyrics of songs that may make us cringe. We have to take every opportunity to show the love of Christ to an ugly world, and that may mean looking that ugliness right in the face. We don’t have to yolk ourselves to it and hold it in high esteem. We don’t have to embrace the lies in it. But when there is a shred of truth we should grasp onto it and expound on it. We should commend truth and correct lies.

Christians need to be involved in the culture. We need to shine on it and spread the Gospel into it. We can’t very well do that from a bunker.

MAAM, July 30, 2018: Art as Escapism

I want to go to there…

What is it about art, photography, and to some extent music that makes it so enticing? Why do we like to look at pretty things? Why do we seek it out and pay tons of money for images?

If I was to answer that I would have to say that I am an escapist. The reason I collect and create so many images is that I like to look back at them and put myself in that space and that time.

Images create an imaginary world where I can fill in blanks and put myself there. They can transport me back to a time that my mind can idealize. They can put me in a place where I have never been but want to be.

It isn’t just art, it’s imagery in general. I love historic pictures as well for many of the same reasons. Even other people’s vacation photos aren’t immune to my idealization.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I imagine many if not most people are like me if they examined their reasons for appreciating art.

Is it wrong?

I don’t think so. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with imagining ourselves in other places and times. If it were we should avoid fiction books and movies altogether. We utilize things like art and books and movies to make us happy, teach us life lessons, and to make life that much better.

But can it be wrong?

Yes, if we are consumed by our imagination. If we obsess over images and the worlds they place us in they can become an addiction. Those places will seek to usurp reality and rob us of contentment. They will become idols and push us away from God.

Anything enjoyable can become destructive if overindulged, art included. That is why we must be careful to balance the beauty of fantasy with the often ugly reality.

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Music and Art Monday, July 23rd 2018: Angel of Needs

Here’s an ancient song of mine for you this week. Unfortunately, I have to external link to the video. (https://steemit.com/music/@driptorchpress/6865nqgg)

Go easy on me, it’s been easily 10 years since I played it last.

At least I can post the chords and lyrics here. The title and chorus come from a painting “Angel Of Needs” by Giles LeBlanc, seen above. I saw it in Nova Scotia when I was 12 and fell in love with it.

Angel of Needs
12/4/00-12/9/00

Intro and bridge: G Em C D7

(Chorus)
(C)You’re just an angel (F) of needs,
(D)An angel sent (G) to me,
(Em)Maybe someday (Am) you’ll be, (Em)What you seem (Am) to be.
(Bridge)

(C)You find it hard (D) to see,
(G) What I’ve (Em) realized,
(C)When I look (D) into your eyes,
(G)And I can see for (Am) miles and miles,
(G)And I can see (Em) your smile,
(C)You’re such (F) an angel (D) to me.

(Chorus)
(Bridge x 2)

(C)Beautiful when I (D) look at you,
(G)How I see (Em) the skies,
(C)When I look (D) upon your face,
(G)I can’t see (Am) another, no others,
(G)But I can see in (Em) this place,
(C)Nothing but (F) the angel (D) for me.

(Chorus)
(Bridge x 2)

(C)I know now how (D) to be alive,
(G)How to share (Em) your time,
(C)When I hold your (D) hand in mine,
(G)And I can feel your (Am) smiling heart,
(G)I can tell no (Em) other touch,
(C)That it compares (F) with the angel (D) for me.

(Chorus)
(Bridge x 2)

(C)You make me (D) so at peace,
(G)How I love (Em) your warmth,
(C)When I hold you (D) close to me,
(G)And I can feel your (Am) laughing hands,
(G)I can feel no (Em) other hearts,
(C)As beautiful as (F) the angel’s (D) for me.

Chorus:
(C)You’re just an angel (F) of dreams,
(D)An angel meant (G) for me,
(Em)Maybe someday (Am) you’ll be,
(Em)The angel you want (Am) to be.

MAM, July 9th,2018: Artpal

Due to some technical difficulties (WordPress claims I have too much media uploaded), today’s post is simply a link to my Artpal page.

On that page you will find prints (framed and unframed) and mugs with my photos and paintings on them.

The prices vary depending on the size of the print and the item type. If you buy something, I make a decent profit and you get something fun to hang on your wall. Or drink out of. Whatever suits your tastes.

Thanks!

MAM: July 2, 2018: A Waterfall is Within

I don’t know exactly when I wrote this or the circumstances, but it seems pretty descriptive of so many points in my life. Enjoy!

A waterfall is within,
But drying up before my eyes, I weep dry tears, I fear I am falling out of faith, I fear I am falling out of grace, I fear grace was never here.

Beating my head against a brick wall of my own sin, breaking through every barrier I have put in my way, endlessly tripping down the same path, when will it end?

I fear I may never be able to win this war, I lose battle after battle, I fight with no ally, I fight alone, I fight within, I fight myself to sleep and grieve with every broken promise made to myself and the ones I love.

Is there an end, a way to win, is there a battle I may be victorious in? Never alone will I win, never alone can I conquer myself, I am too frail, too deep in my own flood of desires and passions. I am consumed.

I am faltered, I am weak, I am weary, I have fallen. I can’t get up from this pit, I am endlessly lost in this grave, underground but still walking, dead but still breathing, I need help, I need life.

I need forgiveness, I need strength, I need a Hand to lift me up, I need to turn around, to make my way back to joy. I cannot win my battles alone, I cannot fight my struggles inside, I must bring the war into the open.

Lead me on, Spirit. Be my shield and my sword, be my horse that carries me through the sea of deadly temptations, wielding their bloody axes, hacking into those without You, killing those who mock You, not knowing of Your might.

Lift me up, turn me away, send me running far out into the open, far away from the death that is within me.

Forgive me, cleanse me, heal me, cause my heart to be apologetic, cause my life to reflect You, cause my mind to dwell on You, cause my body to desire You.

I have thirsted, I have drowned, I have hungered and been gluttonous with that which is deadly, I have been arrogant and I have been smashed to bits.

But my life is faith, my walk is delicate, my desires are few, for I am fulfilled by my salvation, I am lifted up and guided through hard times by the Spirit who is greater than I.

I am nothing. God is Everything.

Music and Art Monday, June 25th, 2018: A New Song

I had an urge the other night to play guitar. This is not an urge I have very often, since I got so out of practice with the instrument that I get annoyed by it. But since I had the urge I rolled with it.

I even wrote a song.

Yep, it’s literally been years since I wrote a song. At least that’s how I remember it. So I decided I wasn’t going to get up from the table until I had something written. It’s simple and not very eloquent but I kinda like how it turned out.

I’m a little surprised at how hard it was to get out. I guess years of slacking off will build that kind of rust on a mind.

The wife’s out of town, so I was a bit lonely. But the words really aren’t about her, well, not entirely anyway.

Here are the lyrics:

I met a girl with a rebel heart,
She looked to me for a brand new start.
She told me she’d never part,
But now she’s left with her rebel heart.

Now I’m less a man inside,
Feeling just like I died,
When she left me and I cried,
Oh I cried.

It took us years to get a start,
Built a life despite her rebel heart,
She told me she’d never part,
But now she’s left with her rebel heart.

Now I’m less a man inside,
Feeling just like I died,
When she left me and I cried,
Oh I cried.

I may have deviated a little here and there and the chord progression isn’t perfect. But without further ado here is a link to Rebel Heart:

https://d.tube/v/driptorchpress/h7sd1inc