Realizations

Philosophy in the Middle of the Desert

Knights of Cydonia: An Atheist Anthem? September 13, 2012

[as written on 81512]

 

When asked what my favorite Muse song is, I’d have to say it’s New Born, though Knights of Cydonia rivals it. However, while the song’s music as a whole perhaps is a little better than New Born’s music as a whole song in all it’s parts, for me in rating each song I’m biased against KOC for the lyrics. Matt Bellamy was at least at one point a seeming atheist in real life, though that perspective rarely comes out in his songs (and often you’d get the opposite reaction from his lyrics), but this is one of the few songs where it does come out. Which is unfortunate because it’s possibly their best song musically. The one time he bashes God is in the one song that’s best musically! Why pick that song to offend people?

 

Connecting the Lyrics with the Art:
The more I thought about the lyrics, the more it appears to be not only a random, weird nod to Atheism, but in fact an atheist anthem of sorts. The song itself has no mention or reference to either knights or Cydonia, except for the sound of horse galloping in the beginning referencing the knights riding on horses, and the sound of laser guns indicating that these are science fiction/future/space knights. What is Cydonia? It’s the area on Mars in which the “Face on Mars” was found in old photographs taken of the Martian surface, thus “Knights of Cydonia” apparently refers to Martian knights, or knights from the supposed Martian civilization in Cydonia (by whom the Face on Mars was constructed, perhaps in their humanoid likeness). The cover of the album “Black Holes and Revelations” shows 4 men sitting at a table in the red Cydonian desert (it’s not Earth because planet Earth is seen at a distance in the background) with horses on the table, linking them to the Knights of Cydonia (in which the song opens up with horse sounds). Why four knights? It’s an obvious link to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the biblical Book of Revelation (perhaps why Muse chose “Revelations” in the album name).
So how does this connect with lyrics? The lyrics in the song are minimal for a Muse song, but they suggest alot: “Come ride with me through the veins of history. I’ll show you a god who falls asleep on the job. How can we win when fools can be kings? Don’t waste time or time will waste you.”

 

Paraphrased it says this: “Look at the same history I’m looking at. With all the wars, natural disasters, and plagues in history, there’s no way there could really be a loving God involved with Earth. Therefore we’re on our own, and there’s no fate involved in who becomes a ruler; we’re at the mercy of these tyrants who are elected by chance and happenstance. We must not waste any time, but make things right before it’s too late. It’s only a matter of time before they ruin the Earth.”

 

How in the world does this statement at all relate to 4 Martian Knights? Because there’s no God, so life on Earth must have originated from a superior alien civilization on Mars, aka, “Panspermia”, another interest of Matt Bellamy’s lyrics (as seen in such songs as “Exegenesis: Cross-Pollination”). This is a serious proposition suggested by such leading atheists as Richard Dawkins, so it’s not that radical.
[But this is where it gets radical (maybe too radical for Muse): perhaps the lyrics and cover art are suggesting that these Knights of Cydonia, after planting life on Earth, are now in fact running all the politics of the world, establishing rulers as their puppets, from behind the scenes. So electing rulers is really out of our control and we must rise up and take the power back before it’s too late. Also if there’s no God, then the Book of Revelation isn’t supernatural and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse that St. John saw are more realistically 4 aliens (a common theory among skeptics, who say the same thing regarding the 4 angels in wheels in Ezekiel’s prophecy).]

 

Atheist Anthem:
Therefore, after establishing an Atheistic worldview, the songs ends with a chorus of people chanting this anthem:
“No one’s gonna take me alive. The time has come to make things right. You and I must fight for our rights. You and I must fight to survive.”

 

Paraphrased, this is essentially saying: “There’s no God, so it’s all up to us. We must take everything into our own hands. We must resist these authorities, to the point of death. We will take control and make the world the place it’s supposed to be.” And then it closes the song with an evolutionary reference to “Survival of the Fittest”: “You and I must fight to survive.”

Sounds a little to me like, “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:14). It’s an Atheist Anthem.

 

It’s Influence on my Song-writing:
Even though this song seems to have an evil message (if you believe Christianity is the truth, and songs like this steer people away from God’s truth and towards Atheism), it’s so tempting to listen to because the music is absolutely incredible. So people like me end up listening to it and enjoying it, even though we know it is displeasing to God and it advances Atheism (aka, one of Satan’s most successful attacks on Christianity). And what better way for Satan to keep people from going to Heaven, than softening the heart of the average person to the ridiculous, impossible worldview of Atheism, indeed making it look cool and suddenly popular. And softening the Christian’s disgust towards atheism. All through the vehicle of the most amazing, catchy music the world has to offer today. “Though I don’t agree with an atheist, I’ll listen to him speak over and over again because his speech is so attractive and amazing.”

 

It just goes to show once again how powerful music is, even to the supernatural level. And what Satan uses for evil, God can use for good. I don’t know if Muse is actively trying to make people into atheists, agnostics, or deists, but they are. Even if their motives aren’t mission-minded, Satan’s sure are. And so Muse inspires me to likewise make the best music the world has to offer, but to include in the vehicle of irresistible songs a God-glorifying message of truth that wages war against Satan’s army of songs. For if I, as a devout Christian who’s aware of how the supernatural works, am even willing to keep listening to this Atheist Anthem (which I can acknowledge firsthand has caused me for a moment to question God’s existence in a world of pain and suffering), how much more will the average person (with no conviction) be likely to listen to it and be persuaded away from God (being undeducated in apologetics)?

 

And on the opposite side of the spectrum, if I, as a devout Christian following a universal moral standard, go against my convictions of pleasing God to listen to a song for the sake of the flesh’s entertainment, than how much more would an audience with no moral standard, numbed to convictions, be willing to listen to an incredible song, even though it throws in a random, weird nod to Christianity, or even a Christian anthem?

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Sociosuicide August 23, 2012

[as written from 81611-6412, with additions and editions on 82312]

 

When first talking to my Dad about the possibility of going part-time to focus on music and life he said, “Don’t do that!  You’ll go through Hell!”  What, as if this is paradise?  Maybe I have to go through Hell to find out what paradise is.  Otherwise I may be in paradise right now thinking it’s Hell all the time.

 
You can survive without money, but there’s no point in surviving if you don’t have time.

 
Why waste the best years of your life?  Why spend the prime of your life confined to a cube, not even taking advantage of your young, energetic, healthy body?
Waste the prime of life slaving to save up money for the end of life when your body’s too achy from all those years of slaving to really enjoy it.  Work during the only years when you could actually be adventurous and do anything you want, only to retire when your outings are confined and safe.  I say the exact opposite: retire while you’re still young and work when you’re old.

 
It’s not like a job is going to be anything too physically-challenging for someone in their 60’s.  Especially since by the time I’m in my 60’s everything will be copy-and-pasting on computers anyways, so I’ll be confined to a cube (just like an old person would be in a retirement home) and clicking mouses all day (just like an old person would be doing anyways, playing solitaire and surfing the web).
Slave your whole life away and by the time you can finally retire you’re too old and achy and fragile to do the things you would do if you were younger.

And sadly you have to factor in the possibility that you wouldn’t even live long enough to retire (especially with the age of retirement getting pushed back), in which case your whole existence was all about school or working since you were like 5, and then ended before your life could be known for anything other than that.  What a shame it would be for you to invest all your time in a job, just longing for the day you retire, only to randomly get killed by a drunk driver at the age of 60.  “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you.  Then whose will all these things be which you have acquired?’” [Luke 12:20]

I wonder if an old man on his death bed would be happy he played it safe his whole life, giving up the risk of adventure for the mediocrity of comfort and security?  I doubt it.  After all, he still dies just like the man who dies while mountain climbing or sky-diving.  What does it matter at that point how you die?  And though the latter died sooner, who had a more fulfilling life overall?  You’re going to leave this earth one way or another; you might as well go out with a bang!  And live a more exciting life until that bang comes (if it ever does indeed come).

 
“Stand by and see the salvation of our God.”

 

Whereas on our first trip to the new city I was yelling “Livin’ the dream!  Livin’ the FLIPPIN’ dream!!”  Now I somberly mutter under my breath with reverence “Living the dream.”  Do I have cold feet?  Of course I’ve got cold feet!  But I choose to force those cold feet forward.  I don’t wake up everyday with such a strong conviction of faith so as to meditate on every one of my problems until I have peace about each one, but I do have an over-arching faith that says “I’m scared about these circumstances I’m going through, but I know God will make it all work out in the end one way or another.”  And so my act of faith isn’t staring at my fears in the face and laughing at them, my act of faith is to not think of them at all and trust that God’s plan isn’t dependent on me having faith about each one, but instead having faith that he’ll make it all work out, and it’s not going to help anything by me thinking about them.  Even if my goal is trying to muster faith against each problem individually, chances are if I think about a problem I’ll unavoidably worry; so why even think of them?  My act of faith is to keep flying by the seat of my pants, not paying attention to the details (lest I worry), and trusting that God will make me land where I’m supposed to.

 

[This is something I had to learn from going through major depression during the struggles with my band’s old drummer.  It seemed that he would be quitting the band (which for me was ultimately a sign that my dream of music wouldn’t work out and everything I’d banked my life on was a mistake), and so I was stressed, depressed, and anxious as I was forced to wait for him to get his act together and figure out what he was doing.  The mood of every day hinged on what kind of response I got from him.  Then one day he randomly just hit us with the news that he was moving out of state, which had nothing to do with the band but had to do with family issues, so it was completely out of our control.  That’s when I realized that all this time I was trying to fix the situation and manipulate it to work out in my favor, but in the end the outcome was completely independent of me, and I couldn’t have influenced the situation one bit.  The outcome was still going to happen regardless of me.  I had the realization that instead of spending that month in depression, stress, and anxiety, I could have simply not cared or thought about the situation at all, and instead chilled out and enjoyed life for a month, and the result would have been exactly the same!  …only in the second scenario I would have had a much better month of my life.]
“Stand by and see the salvation of our God.”  For some reason, in times like this, a verse will just randomly come out of my inner being, and the same verse keeps coming over and over (as was the case when I was nervous about talking to Mike Minter on the phone and the line “Why do the nations rage when their king is on the throne?” kept coming to me all week).  This particular line is one that got into my head from one of Minter’s sermons referring to Moses’ statement when the people were dead-ended by the Red Sea (the specific wording I think is a combination with Isaiah 52:10, after being recently amazed by Rich Mullins’ song “52:10”).  Just as in the past when God had everything fall into place miraculously and amazingly, even now I’m seeing the pieces coming together and all I can do is keep going, awaiting the miraculous as in the past, and say “Stand by and see the salvation of our God.”  May I fall into place, and then stand back and be amazed at the puzzle You have made!

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[Interview] Miles Prowers: “Judaism is the one true religion.” May 30, 2012

Filed under: Christianity/Theology/Spirituality — milesprowers @ 12:44 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

R: Miles, thanks for taking the time to do a short interview for us.
M: Anytime!
R: It seems that on your latest album you had more blatant Christian references than usual.  Would you consider Christianity to be the one true religion?
M: No.
R: Really.  I’m sure that will surprise a lot of our listeners.  So, I’m guessing you’re one of these philosophical types that see all religions as having the same purpose, leading to the same place, and you just try to be devout with the one you’re raised in?
M: Not really.  I’m actually anti-religion altogether.
R:  Wow.  ‘Cause all your lyrics appear to point to a consistent, conservative religious background.  So I guess it’s more of just an artistic form for you, whereas in reality you’re agnostic?
M:  No, I’m not agnostic.  I believe there is one truth, and the same reality for everybody on Earth, and anyone who doesn’t believe that truth is deceived.
R:  But there isn’t one true religion?
M: No, there is.
R: [Laughs]  Okay, now you’re just messing with me!
M: No, I’m being serious.  There is one true religion.
R: Okay, you just said there wasn’t!
M: No, I didn’t.
R: Then which one is it?!
M: Judaism.
R: ………
M: This may surprise a lot of people but Judaism is actually the one true religion.
R: I would have never guessed you’re Jewish!
M:  I’m not.
R: …….. Okay, enough with the questions.  I guess I should just let you explain.  What is it exactly that you do you believe?
M: So I believe in one God who created man, then man rebelled against God, forever separating God’s presence from Earth with man.  God then set up a system to atone for man’s sins so he could once again dwell with man.  This system for atoning man’s sins is what’s known as Judaism, and it’s the one true set of laws that God created to allow man to atone for his sins.  But it still wasn’t anything like the perfect relationship God had with man in the beginning, and depraved mankind continued breaking God’s covenant, thus incurring God’s judgement.  This system of obedience and sin, blessings and curses was frustrating to God, so he told his prophet Jeremiah he wasn’t satisfied with the current covenant and he was going to establish a new covenant and a new law, this time written on man’s heart.  This new covenant would be so much better and easier than the old one that all the world could easily take part in it and have that perfect relationship with God again.  And so God told the prophets that a man would rise up from among them to establish this new covenant, as the Jewish prophet Isaiah said: “A child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on his shoulders.”  But what’s interesting about this man whom the prophets refer to as “The Chosen One”, is what Isaiah says next:  “The government will rest on his shoulders; and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father.”  So what child is this that will be called God, Eternal Father?  What they were prophesying is that this Chosen One would be God himself, born as a man!  God himself enacts the first covenant, God himself enacts the 2nd!  Of course this Chosen One already came in the person which the world knows as Jesus, and he established God’s new covenant.
R: Aha!  So Christianity is the one true religion!
M: No, I already told you it’s not!
R: [expletive]
M: See, that just goes to show that most people don’t understand what Christianity really is, including many people who label themselves as Christian.
R:  Alright, alright.  I’m sorry for interrupting you in this interview.  Keep on going.
M: Most people think Jesus came to start a new religion, but in reality he did just the exact opposite!  Being God, he lived a perfect life, fulfilling every law in the Old Covenant, and though he was perfect and didn’t need to atone for personal sin, he took all the sins of the world upon himself and sacrificed his perfect body as one final sacrifice, atoning for sin once and for all.  This is the New Covenant God mentioned through the prophets, and so all people need to do now is simply believe that God did this and accept this final atonement for their sins. Then God will see them as having the perfect righteousness of Jesus, and with no sin separating them from God anymore he will once again live among all believers of this covenant, as he did in the beginning, only this time inside of them.
R: Okay, hold on a sec.  So you said you believe Judaism is the true religion, yet it seems you believe Judaism is obsolete.  How do you reconcile this?
M: Yes, Judaism has been made obsolete, but it also remains the only true religion established by God, because it was never replaced with another one.  Now the Old Covenant was replaced by the New Covenant, but unlike the Old Covenant, the new one wasn’t a religion of rules you have to follow to be made right with God.  Just like Jeremiah prophesied that the New Covenant would be written on our hearts, when we believe in Jesus’ sacrifice our sins are instantly atoned for, and in our perfection God begins a relationship with us; there’s no need for religion anymore.  And interestingly enough, secular history even verifies this because only a few years after fulfilling Judaism, God affirmed its obsoletion by destroying the Jewish Temple, making it so the Jews were incapable of trying to atone for their sins anymore through the Old Covenant.
R: Okay, before you go any further we’ve got to start wrapping it up here.  So to recap, it seems to me in the course of this interview you said, 1. You’re not a Christian, 2. Judaism is the one true religion, but 3. You’re not Jewish, in fact you’re anti-religion.  And then you go on some spiel that makes you sound like you’re a devout Christian after all.  Do you have one consistent world-view, or are you changing your mind as we speak?
M: Yes, I have one consistent world-view.  No, I’m not changing my mind as we speak. [Laughs]  But you only got 2 of the 3 right.
R: [Laughs] Alright!  At this point I’ll take what I can get.  Which one was wrong?
M: I actually am a Christian…
R: But you just…!
M: Hold on, hold on.  Let me try to clarify myself and wrap all this up in a way that people can understand.
R: Please, by all means!
M: So Judaism is the one true religion, but it was fulfilled and made obsolete by Christianity.  However, Christianity is not a religion, in fact it is the freedom from religion.  Jesus kept every Jewish commandment for us and then with one final atonement God traded his righteousness for our sin, making us righteous simply by our faith in him, so that we no longer have to keep the Jewish laws.  Essentially Jesus abolished religion.  Therefore, to be pro-Jesus is essentially saying you’re pro-abolition-of-religion and thus anti-religion.  The end.
R: Wow, okay, well, that’s not the direction I thought this interview was going to go, and it seems that took all of our time.  But you left us enough to chew on for a while, so I guess that’s it for now.  Thanks for taking the time to have this monologue…uh… interview.
M: Anytime.  [Laughs]  Sorry about that.  But it is the most important thing to me and there’s nothing else I’d rather talk about.  Thanks everyone for taking the time to listen!

 

Religion: √ Other February 18, 2012

[As written on 012912]

“What religion are you?”

This turns out to be a loaded question.
How would the first Christians have responded?  That was before the term “Christian” existed.
How would Jesus (does Jesus) want you to respond?
“Christianity.”
Oh, so Christianity’s a religion?
In most cases, Christianity is a person’s religion…that is, for a person who isn’t really a Christian.  Christianity is the religion of someone who doesn’t understand what Christianity really is.  Of someone who makes Christianity into a religion.

Or you could say, more appropriately,
“I have no religion.” “I don’t follow a religion.”  “I don’t believe in religion.”
As someone at work asked me,
“Are you religious?”
To which I confidently regurgitated the theologically-sophisticated answer I had been taught to believe:
“No.”
Wow.  I thought he was a Christian.  I didn’t realize he’s an agnostic. 
As I realized what he was probably thinking, all I could do is just stand there, stumped, unable to jump back on my train of thought and explain myself.  I just passed up the perfect Gospel opportunity.

In an ideal situation, their question would be:
“What is your religion?”
In which case, the simple, yet theologically profound, answer is:
“Jesus.”

Most people aren’t theologically aware enough to even realize what Christianity actually is, so most people would think,
Okay, Jesus = Christianity, so Christianity is his religion.
…and be on to the next thing.

But hopefully there would be someone who would at that point question you further.
“You mean Christianity is your religion.  A Muslim’s religion is Islam, not Muhammad.”
And then in that glorious, life-changing opportunity you fulfill the meaning of life, you obey the Great Commission, you plant the seed, you preach the Gospel to them in one sentence:

“Jesus didn’t start a religion; He personally took the place of religion.”
And if they question you further, you answer further.

It’s unclear exactly what the minimum is that a person must believe in order to be saved.  The best example of salvation in the Bible is the thief on the cross in Luke 23, who, to my knowledge, is the only instance in the Bible of someone who is clearly, definitely saved.  Of course the apostles were and all that, but I mean, the thief is the only person God Himself ever told “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”  You are saved.

Specific details aside, the Gospel as simplified as possible is this:
Christianity = Salvation by God’s grace through Jesus.

[42112- Perhaps the next time we fill out one of those forms that requires us to specify our religion we should check the box “Other”, and if it provides a blank to clarify we should write in “Jesus”.  That would throw off the nation’s statistics, perhaps for the better, perhaps for the worse (as it would seem to indicate Christianity dying off, when in reality it’s being resurrected in a new form, stronger and more alive than before).]

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The Greatest Possible Sacrifice January 28, 2012

Filed under: Christianity/Theology/Spirituality — milesprowers @ 10:18 am
Tags: , , ,

[As written on 1/17-18/12, edited 012812]

“The universe is so vast and so ageless that the life of one man can only be justified by the measure of his sacrifice.” ~ RAF Flying Officer Vivian Rosewarne, shot down on 31 May 1940

All this talk of sacrifices…but I don’t sacrifice. Not really. If I did I would be out of my comfort zone, doing things I don’t want to do. As it is, I sacrifice…in my comfort zone. I sacrifice my time (not wasting time with insignificant things that don’t edify me or others), talent (use my strengths and skills to bring others closer to God), treasure (only buy what is necessary and give the rest to the ministry), body (rebel against the lusts of my flesh) and relationships (don’t let anyone become more of a priority over God, or get in the way of my calling). I sacrifice it to make the biggest impact I can possibly make…..and yet still manage to achieve my own desires, interests, and dreams. Still somehow keep my hands from getting dirty.
A wise man once said “If I even sacrifice my body to the flames, but have not love, I am nothing.” Equally in my case, if I rock the world to its core, but have not love… I am nothing.

I sacrifice my time, talent and treasure to use it for things other than indulging my selfish desires, but even then I’m using them to do something I enjoy doing. So then, is that really sacrifice? Is it that much of a sacrifice to choose not to indulge in fleshly stimulation at all times? I put all my time, talent, and treasure towards a ministry, but it’s a ministry I enjoy doing. So is it really sacrifice?
It’s easy to sacrifice physical things within your comfort zone that you have easy access to like money and food; what’s hard to sacrifice is the intangible, things like your embarrassment and weaknesses. Standing up to defend Jesus’ name or Christianity. Making that first embarrassing detour in the conversation to culturally-awkward topics like religion. Amidst your jam-packed schedule to ask someone if they need help with something or engaging them in conversation. On your day off to look for ways to serve others. Or forcing yourself to smile. Or giving up your spiritual gifts to serve in the area which happens to need the most help right in front of you, as awkward as it is. Or even physical things like fatigue and pain. These are the hindrances of true sacrifice.

Who really does sacrifice then?
The first thing that pops up in my mind when I think of total sacrifice, or the ultimate surrender to God, is the missionary. Surely a missionary who leaves behind all luxury and family and cultural comfort behind to pursue the selfless goal of fulfilling God’s neglected command to preach the Gospel to those most desperate for it. Yet what missionary doesn’t enjoy what he does? What missionary doesn’t feel the unparalleled, divine joy that comes from joining the ranks of the apostles in being obedient to God’s greatest command and fulfilling their meaning of life? Are there really missionaries out there writhing in misery right now, guilt-tripped into the mission field, and merely riding on the fumes of conviction to keep them going? If so, I’ve never heard of them, even if their missionary journey doesn’t bare evident fruit.

Perhaps we should let the missionaries speak for themselves. What would the most sacrificial of missionaries say on the subject? Fortunately for this essay’s sake, one of the most famous missionaries was asked about his sacrifice. To which Dr. David Livingstone replied:
People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. . . . Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view, and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice.

Wow. I’m reminded of the passage that “coincidentally” came up today as I’m in the process of reading through the whole Bible chronologically. Luke 17: 7: “Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? 9 He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10 So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’”

So what then is the ultimate sacrifice?
100% sacrifice would be something like voluntarily going to jail or dying for no cause, where you can’t enjoy anything, nor do anything good which might bring you joy. That’s the ultimate sacrifice. And also that which God abhors.

As it turns out, “sacrifice” in reality is a relative term that requires a balance to be useful, much like the rest of Christianity. For if you truly sacrificed everything you possibly could, you wouldn’t be doing any good. God has called us all to be living sacrifices and yet I believe that in fulfilling that divine charge of making the greatest impact you can possibly make you will experience the greatest possible joy.

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Basia is Yearning No More after she Found God April 1, 2011

Filed under: Christianity/Theology/Spirituality — milesprowers @ 6:56 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Commentary on Basia’s “Yearning”
[As written 32912-4112]

Let me first say that I was never that impressed with this song’s lyrics, perhaps partly because I listen to a cd that I digitized from an old, battered tape which recorded static, “tape” sounds, sudden muffled voices, and an occasional cell phone buzz from when my phone interfered with the computer recording somehow.  All that, coupled with an ESL Polish singer singing in a British accent, gave me the innocent impression that she was singing along the lines of “home is where the heart is” (specifically I thought the lyrics said “home is in your heart”), aka an over-used expression from a Pole trying to be relevant to English listeners and get a pop hit by singing a common catchphrase (as is typical of western pop).  That is until 3 years later when out of nowhere she suddenly sang the words “Star of Bethlehem,” and my ears immediately perked up as my mind was arrested for the remainder of the car ride, ironically with a sudden yearning to find out what she was singing about.  I started listening with a different perspective now and a new song began materializing: a song that used words like “endless state of sadness” (very unlike Basia’s typical, uplifting, irresistibly peppy vibe), and later I thought I heard her even use the word “God”.  Something deep, dark, dramatic and potentially of eternal significance was coming, surprisingly and out of nowhere, from a Basia album, and gave a new somber perspective to those random whale sounds that seemed to embody mankind’s grievous “yearning”.  As soon as I got home I researched the song for hours (and on into the next 2 days, as it consumed my mind with this unshakable, unexplained yearning), and as the pieces began to assemble they formed a consistent, sophisticated philosophy that instantly elevated this song to a level above the pop world.  I realized this quirky, sassy, pop-star, Polish chick might actually be getting into deeper waters, forbidden ground for mainstream pop singers– but maybe she wasn’t your typical mainstream pop singer after all.  If this was Astrud Gilberto singing it would have been “Home is in your heart”, but this is Basia, a 40-year-old, university Physics graduate, who turned out to be singing “you’re homeless in your heart…”

The song begins by quoting (as mysterious quotation marks are actually used in the liner notes) an apparent natural remedy for emotional distresses with cryptic words, one of which is the “star of bethlehem” which is advised to heal “the state of endless sadness.”  However, while this at first seemed to allude to Christianity curing man’s depravity, right after this quoted remedy she writes (and the liner notes indicate she alone is the lyricist) “but for a simple case of longing what are we to do when homeless in our hearts and souls?”  As if the Star of Bethlehem (Christianity) in reality couldn’t ultimately cure the final yearning of our souls.  This distressed me as it not only seemed to refute the implication of her singing to God, but in fact came off as anti-Christian.  But something didn’t seem right about having a list of these natural herb remedies and then suddenly the spiritual cure of salvation right smack dab in the middle.  That’s when I realized (and confirmed later) that “Star of Bethlehem” was in fact the name of a flower that grows in Europe, as were the others in the list, and this quote is taken from something referring to the mysterious Bach Flower Remedies.

So it turns out the “Star of Bethlehem” is irrelevant to the main message of the song and only sets up the premise, that is continued in the remaining verses, of man trying to fill his void with different worldly things, from flowers to lovers to places.  She says mankind is constantly searching for the answer to the “yearning” of our “hearts and souls”, “but despite of all endeavours–nothing changed, as ever–we’re homeless in our hearts…”

Then this surprisingly sad, dark song (starkly contrasting the sound Basia is known for) suddenly reverses its emotion back to the Basia we know and love, finding hope as it changes to major chords, but this interestingly comes right after saying the world could offer no hope.  Where then does this new-found hope come from if not from the world?  She sings in the chorus that she finds her home, the end to her yearning, in “you.”

Who is this “you”?  90% of the time when a pop song sings to a “you” it’s implied to be intended for a lover, as is what I automatically assumed for this song, as with her others.  However, she refutes this herself in the verse before the redeeming chorus when she’s still referencing the hopelessness of man’s quest for satisfaction:
some of us take daring chances following our lovers– the passion we can trust…
others just cannot sit still– they’re driven by the power of mighty wanderlust…
…but despite of all endeavours–nothing changed, as ever–we’re homeless in our hearts…

She says that while some try to fill this yearning with their “lovers”, “nothing changed”.  The yearning still remains, we’re still “homeless in our hearts and souls”.  As if her personal lover were really a possible solution to this yearning of mankind!  She isn’t just talking about her personal longing, but this inherent longing in all humanity for something deeper.  So naturally when the chorus sings of finding the solution, it isn’t just Basia singing by herself of a personal satisfaction, but rather a group of people all singing about this “home” that they’ve found in “you”.  Who are “you” that can satisfy the yearning of us humans?

In fact this entire song is written from the perspective of “we” humans searching for the solution to our yearning.  The lyrics to the chorus are the only part written from first person (“I’m yearning no more”), and yet the chorus is also the only part that has several people singing, which instantly turns that “I” into “we” anyways.  In fact the only part that seems to be from a single, personal source is after the chorus when the mysterious male voice sings “Come to me”.

As this is a song about finding home, the only other likely option for this “you” is her actual, physical home of Poland, where “i belong, i gave up the world to be with you.”  This is the conclusion that people deduced on an internet Basia forum (where the first theory of the song being another typical Basia love song, and no spiritual connotation, was also accepted there)*, as evidenced in the music video when she is singing the chorus at the end while wearing a traditional Polish outfit, implying that is where her home is (Poland), what her heart is yearning for.  This could also be mentioned in the lyric “we’re trying so hard to make every place feel like home left behind”, but every place they go they’re “homeless in our hearts,” as if only until they return to their true, native, family home do they find home in their heart.  Still it’s not typical that people refer to a place as “you”, or personify it with a male voice saying “come to me”.  It’s much more realistic and typical for pop that she would be referring to a person– her lover (which was already dismissed).  The lyrics themselves refute this concept saying that the pursuit of a place (including their “native” place), like the pursuit of lovers, only leaves your yearning intact, because your home can’t be found in a person or a place.
you circle the globe, go native, go far…but it’s not a country or a town, not a house…
what’s the use of distant travel if only to discover–you’re homeless in your heart

And so you’re left without a complete, satisfactory, natural conclusion (which leaves you yearning…).  But there is a conclusion, and the key to decoding this puzzle, the crux of the whole song, is found in the line right before the chorus.  This instantly changes the entire perspective of the song and sets the foundation for the chorus (indicating its addressee), with one seemingly nonchalant, even out-of-place, word:
wherever we go, god, we’re trying so hard to make every place feel like home left behind, but despite of all endeavours–nothing changed, as ever–we’re homeless in our hearts…

Instead of another typical song of longing for a lover, ignoring the realities of life and distracting you from them with some quirky “yeah yeah”s on a bossa nova beat to gloss over the pain, this song takes a deeper, darker turn, leaving the safe, comfortable formula for pop success and taking a chance in hopes of offering some actual truth to the listener.   As if this singer, notorious for her ability to instantly cheer up the audience, genuinely cared for the audience and sought to go beyond simply cheering them up to actually helping them in real life.  (As it seems from the look in her eyes as she sings this song in her music video– those eyes which genuinely go out of their way to reach out to you and say “It’s okay.  There is hope.  There is an answer.  And I’m trying to make it as clear as possible within the confines of the mainstream pop market.”)
So she lays out on the table, for all to see, the truth that everybody already knows, but which the pop world is paid to pretend doesn’t exist: the truth about mankind’s spiritual depravity and his insatiable quest for satisfaction in a world that cannot satisfy, but only offers vanity of vanities.  She notices that there’s a deeper kind of yearning, different than the physical kind of yearning that can be satisfied by mere physical remedies.  To find satisfaction for this eternal kind of yearning she is forced to look beyond this temporal world to the supernatural, which she does when she introduces “god” into the song, at which point the song becomes hopeful and major.

Apparently I’m not alone in this interpretation though as one version of the lyrics I pulled up on the internet had “You” in the chorus capitalized, implying divinity.  Of course, in the actual liner notes all the lyrics are conveniently lower case (including the beginning of sentences) almost as if to keep you wondering and to pass the secular inspection (as is the case of Thrice’s lyrics being all lowercase, “sneaking past the watchful dragon” as Dustin puts it).

Really the entire song hinges on the interpretation of that one word, “god”.  If she’s addressing God with that word then it only makes sense that when she sings to “you” a few words later that she is singing to God.  But if she’s using “god” as a typical vanity (as is more common in mainstream pop music), as in “oh my god”, then that “you” could be anything, and nothing makes sense.  She could still be singing to God (who she just blasphemed by using his name in vain, in which case she doesn’t hold that high of a regard for him despite him soothing her eternal yearning), or to a lover or place in whom she knows won’t really satisfy her yearning (as she just mentioned) so she’s just teasing herself, ignoring her own advice.  But a few tracks later on this same album (The Sweetest Illusion) there’s a song with similar lyrical allusions called “The Prayer of a Happy Housewife” in which she clearly is singing to God (though not mentioning the word “god” as she does in Yearning).  Here she sings “my grateful thoughts I raise to heaven” and “thank you for this man who’s been always true”, clearly implying that she’s not singing to her lover, but rather to “heaven”.  Does the same person who writes from a devout perspective in one song, treating God with reverence, then turn around so quickly and treat “god” as just a random word to be tossed around in vanity, simply filling the space of a needed syllable, that has nothing to do with the other lyrics?  Not likely.  She knew what she was doing and what this would imply, or else she would have chosen not to use this word.  Especially for a foreigner in the early 90’s coming from a strong, religious culture (which she still embraces), with a reputation for being so positive, uplifting, modest, and family-friendly, it isn’t likely she would suddenly spurn the image she markets and the fan-base she’d grown, for no reason, with a possible, random blasphemy.  As English is her 2nd language it’s not like she’s so casual with words and western culture to just spit up whatever random lyrics come out, and then take the time to have them typed exactly into the liner notes.

When she sings to this “you” in the chorus who soothes her yearning she is suddenly joined with a choir, and being as the only other time she sings with a choir is in “The Prayer of a Happy Housewife” (which has an obvious gospel sound to add to its clear, spiritual connotation), the reappearance of this apparent church choir carries over with it the same spiritual interpretation.  This latter song lets us in to see that Basia actually has a deep, personal relationship with God that surpasses all others, as she sings “i am eternally thankful for what i have and if anything goes wrong then i still have you, i still have you.” So if she has a strong spiritual life like that, and a blatant spiritual message in one song, it isn’t hard to imagine her doing it again on the same album.

Furthermore, if you watch her music video for this song, there is little evidence for the song being addressed to a lover, as the only male-to-female interaction is ballet dancers shown in random parts of the song, keeping with “The Sweetest Illusion” artwork.  But when it comes to the chorus where she’s actually singing to this “you,” you see people alone and surrounded by candles, in what seems to be clear religious imagery to give the song a spiritual connotation.  You see what looks like a monk finding peace and smiling as he looks up to the heavens and clasps his hands in prayer.  And later you see Basia herself surrounded by candles singing the chorus, with her nieces on either side of her bowing their heads with eyes closed apparently praying while she sings to “you”, as if she’s praying with them, but through singing.  All the while they’re dressed in traditional Polish clothing, pointing to her Polish heritage and the Polish religion still strongly integrated in that heritage, which she still holds dear just as she does her country.

The chorus is then followed with a man singing “come to me, i’ll soothe your yearning…”, the only time I recall a man singing anywhere in the 2 Basia albums I have.  Which most simply implies her lover responding to her chorus, and also seemingly denying that a place is what takes away her yearning.  But then Basia sings along with him, as if he’s not actually responding to the song of a woman, but they’re both singing the lyrics together.  It’s as if the response is masculine, yet feminine, as if not from a specific person but rather from something non-physical, like a concept, or a being, beckoning to the audience.

Finally, while “star of bethlehem” is clearly just another flower in the list of herbal remedies, I think it very possible that she chose that quote specifically because those words hinted and implied the coming connotation of the song, which puts that spiritual possibility into people’s minds right off the bat.  I attest to this first hand that, while “star of bethlehem” clearly refers to a flower remedy (that doesn’t take away the spiritual yearning), it was those 3 words that forced me to stop suddenly and take notice of the lyrics I had casually listened to for 3 years, now looking for spiritual meaning.  Also this “flower” is said to remedy an “endless state of sadness”– what does that even mean from a physical interpretation?

Conclusion:

The simplest and most realistic conclusion of this song’s meaning is that the words, the sound, the style, and the visuals were chosen to give this song an evident spiritual connotation that implies praise to God who alone can put an end to humanity’s yearning.

This conclusion, then, leads to some startling additional conclusions.  If she is singing to God then with lyrics like “I gave up the world to be with you, be with you, be with you” she sounds like she is passionately, almost romantically, in love with God, giving up all that the world has to offer for the joy of spending time with Him, feeling His presence (the only solution to her yearning), as if forsaking the sinful indulgences accompanied by the mainstream music scene because of her love for Him.  But this shouldn’t be that surprising considering she was already using the same “you” in Prayer of a Happy Housewife as an obvious reference to God, as well as the same passion for God, which shows in singing how eternally grateful she is to Him and how she’d be content with Him if all the world is taken away (similar to “I gave up the world to be with you”).  But while she quietly sings thanks to God in the latter song, in Yearning she is boldly singing about it at the top of her lungs, to God by name.  Not only is she taking bold steps to loudly sing out to God, but in both of these songs she even comes off as evangelistic, actually encouraging the listener to come to God.  In TPOAHH she sings to God about her audience, “if they only knew, oh if they knew…” and Yearning states “come to me, let me soothe your yearning…”  And apparently in an interview she said this was her favorite song on the album, as well as the single released from it, and also the song she picked to open her show last year; which shows how special it is to her.

Reasons she would not be singing to God:

1. The use of the word “god” is only a casual use, like the common “oh my god”, (though uncharacteristic of Basia’s lyrics and spirit) and all the other evidence is merely coincidence (singing as with a church choir, the religious imagery in her video during the chorus, etc)
2. In which case she actually is singing to a lover (represented by the male voice) as typical of a pop song, and her other songs, (but going against her own advice in the verse that “following our lovers” only ends in being “homeless in our hearts”, and not giving a solution to humanity’s yearning, which the chorus and male voice claim to provide for all)
3. Or she’s singing to her homeland, Poland, who she gave up the whole world to be with (aka any other place in the world, which would be consistent with her ending the song with an old Polish folk song), but again contradicting the whole point of the song that home is “not a country or a town, not a house…” but home is in the heart

Evidence that she IS singing to God:

1. Use of the word “god” in a way that seems to be addressing Him, and not using it in vain.
2. Which is not far-fetched considering her song “Prayer of a Happy Housewife” which is only a few tracks later and blatantly sings to God, in a similar lyrical and sound style to this one
3. The lyrics’ own refutation that the song is not addressing a lover or a place (the only other likely options), nor anything else physical
4.  When she sings the chorus to “you” she is suddenly joined by what sounds like a church choir, implying a spiritual connotation from the gospel sound
5. The music video which has religious/spiritual imagery during the choruses, and no implication of a lover
6. When the male voice sings, she sings along with it, as if it’s not an individual person responding to her chorus, but more of a concept that is responding.  Basia in fact sings along with this “spirit” beckoning the listener to come to Him to find an end to his yearning
7. The beginning quote with the words “star of bethlehem” could have been chosen (while literally referring to an flower remedy) to get a spiritual/Christian connotation into the listener’s mind
8. Basia is referring to a problem humanity has, so also the solution to the problem is for all humanity (not just her personal solution in a lover); likewise when she sings of finding her solution in “you” it’s not just her, but a crowd of people singing to this “you”

*http://www.smoe.org/lists/basia/v04.n002

Personal Note//

 

Let’s Get Radical! (aka devout) December 9, 2010

[DISCLAIMER: the views hereby expressed were done so in an unstable frame of mind and thus are not necessarily the currently held views of the author (hence being pushed to the end of the blog); nevertheless, enough interesting points were made to merit putting its entirety on display for the world.  Perhaps you should consider reading this like one of David’s more pessimistic psalms.  Written between 1/12/10 and 2/16/10, with edits on 12/9/12]

For some reason I actually feel pretty good right now and at peace and happy, because there is the Basia song “Promises” playing in my head.  But nonetheless I’m writing this because the rest of the day up to now I was in misery, struggling with depression and instability of mind, the result of not being able to stop analyzing or not controlling my thoughts and emotions.  So at the risk of losing this rare, good feeling, I think the thoughts I was thinking today were very interesting and worth recording.

Allow me to ask a possibly heretical question:  Is Basia more powerful than God?  I beg and plead with God to give me peace inside, and focus on Him and to stop being depressed and longing and to stop thinking so deeply which always ends up making me depressed, longing, full of self-pity (which is always the thing that leads to near tears), and really to just stop thinking in general and just be happy to be alive….but nothing happens.  The thoughts and analyzing keep going, completely out of my control and inevitably my thoughts and emotions get worse and worse until I can’t even work at my job, and I get closer to hysteria.  But then I think about Basia and all of the sudden when her songs play in my head, everything I had been feeling the whole day instantly vanishes with 0 traces and I feel happy all of the sudden.  What’s up with that?   It was like that yesterday when listening to Basia’s cd for the first time put me on such a high.  Sure God could be using Basia to give me peace…but Basia shouldn’t be what fills my void, and that’s so superficial!  I need (and am asking) God to fill my void.  I have absolutely no control over my emotions and mind, so God is going to have to take control, because he’s the only one who has control.  Yeah this is probably a spiritual attack, but it’s so hard and I get so worn out to the point I am in now where I’m tired of dealing with this and fighting and so I say to God, “God, I’m done fighting.  You’re the only one who can save me and heal me, but you have to fight for me.  You have to show up.  Otherwise, if you don’t, I will be destroyed.”

It’s mind-blowingly amazing how someone like me, who was so happy and encouraging all the time in college (and people recognized that about me) could be so constantly miserable now.  What makes me feel even worse about this is that I realized recently that I am in the top 1% most blessed of the world.  I am living in the most prosperous country on planet Earth.  And I am living in the most prosperous part of the most prosperous country on Earth, so I am living in the single most prosperous and richest part of Planet Earth!  Not only that, it gets better.  I am a Christian, white, wealthy, American male.  I am in the top of the top of the world.  And not only am I a Christian, this is not to be seen as bragging, but I am blessed enough by the grace of God to be a devout Christian who truly wants to do God’s will and is willing to sacrifice anything in order to do that.  It’s hard to say, but I am definitely in the group of the top 1 million most blessed earthlings, but maybe even top 100,000?  !!!  And yet despite that, or maybe because of that, I am miserable…

I am a man most miserable.  My great learning has driven me insane.

When I told one of my friends about my misery he said he was praying for me to be happy.  I thanked him politely for his prayers, but thought to myself, “What a foolish, superficial thing to pray for!  God hasn’t called us to be happy, he’s called us to sacrifice our lives (the result often being suffering).”  After all, we are the scum of the earth, refuse on a hill.  Our role-model was known as the Suffering Servant.  But this is what I have come to realize:  following Christ’s example should make you happy and true happiness is following Christ truly.  And further, if you do not have happiness you don’t have the motivation to live as a sacrifice (which takes lots and lots of motivation).  If you don’t have motivation than you will definitely not be a living sacrifice like you are called to.  I realize that now.

————

Another thing that amazes me is that after spending 3 years being hardcore about celibacy, to the point that I looked down on people in relationships and thought they were living in sin, God broke me down with depression showing me that perhaps I myself, even I the main advocate of celibacy, couldn’t handle a life of solitude after all.  I was forced to be open to the possibility of companionship, and through this opening of my heart God broke me down further by forcing me against my will to fall into romance.  This romance was logically not God’s will, and yet it was so enticing that it possessed me to the point of near hysteria that pushed me out of my self-conscious zone and I addressed the issue.  Something I would never do normally, but I was in such agony that I needed it to end one way or the other.  God’s clear and obvious will, which seemed realistic and logical the whole time, was confirmed and I was shut down.  I concluded that God had used this to break me down and show me that people in relationships were not in sin, that people were not created for lives of solitude, but were created for companionship.  And so I sympathized with them…for a while.  And now we get to where I am now, where I am still not over the romance, even after it being confirmed that it’s not God’s will, which I knew all along.  So now I am in an absolutely pathetic state of wretched misery, knowing it’s not God’s will but my heart still wanting it, though my mind doesn’t want it.  But the possibility of “What if…” keeps the longing of romance alive.  And now, out of nowhere, for no reason at all, my feelings of indignation towards them returned and I am bitter and frustrated with people in relationships as not being in the will of God and not truly wanting to do God’s will, not being truly surrendered (only a few months after being broken down in that very area).  And all of this has logical, biblical evidence to back it up.  And I really don’t care about any of it, but I am in the back seat being torn this way and that way in a war between my differing views of the heart (which is not me) and my mind (or minds) which is/are not me.  I have no control over this, but I am in pain.  I don’t know what’s going on and can’t figure it out.  All I can do is wallow in my agony and be confused and ignorant, walking around like a zombie all day, as my mind (or whatever it is) has taken me hostage and my soul just sits there waiting and praying for God to end it.

[1/27/10- I don’t know if we have free will or not, but one thing I do know:  even if we don’t, we still feel pain.  Even if people don’t make decisions in this life they will still feel the pain that results from the consequences of those decisions.  So has God really created most of the people on earth just for the sake of them feeling pain forever?  If that’s true then God is evil.  There is nothing more evil than bringing someone to life just so they can be in extreme pain forever.  Yet God has declared Himself righteous AND just.  And since it’s not fair for people to live these short lives in a culture of darkness, ignorance and confusion only to be damned for all eternity for the crimes they committed in their short, confusing life span, in order for God to truly be just, either He will provide every single Hell-bound soul a perfect opportunity to be saved from Hell (in this life or the next) or Hell isn’t as bad as people assume from the limited scripture on it.  Perhaps the lake of fire is only for the Devil and his minions, and perhaps Abraham’s Bosom (“Paradise”) is part of Hell/Sheol, and still the destination of righteous unbelievers just as it always was before Christ’s death.  But regardless, we cannot make any assumptions or treat speculation as dogma.  All we can do is recite what has been given to us from divine revelation (the only source of truth from the only one who really knows).  Therefore anyone who preaches anything other than a Hell of darkness and fire for everyone who doesn’t accept Jesus’ atonement is out of line, because it’s all we know.]

I’m not supposed to judge others and any time I feel indignant and frustrated with others I instantly feel sick in my head and depressed and full of self-pity over the whole situation of myself judging them.  But there’s nothing I can do to stop it.  I am defenseless.  But it’s hard for me to not assume that they aren’t in God’s will when they don’t show signs of surrender, but instead show signs of going with the flow of the world.  This is how it seems to me and so based on my observations I assume.  My assumptions lead to judgment and that leads to frustration and the desire to rebuke.  I think the modern church as it seems to me is in the wrong.  Because I don’t see Christians really living the sacrificial lives of surrender they should be living.  I see Christians going with the flow of America, trapped in the America illusion, pursuing the American Dream just enough that it doesn’t push their Christianity out of bounds.  Christians go with the flow of the world: you are born, go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, have grand kids, retire and die.  The “good Christians” go to church every Sunday, maybe read their bible and pray every day, maybe are a light at their work, maybe a light to their neighbors, maybe they will lead someone to Christ in their lifetimes…but maybe not.  (2/16/10- Just like Jesus’ parable of the talents, Christians today take their talent of salvation and simply bury it.  They keep it, but don’t do anything significant with it so that their lives don’t make much of an impact (their gift of salvation doesn’t multiply), which Jesus harshly rebukes.)
But I feel God has called us to live a life like we are going to die tomorrow.  If we truly are living a life like this then how can we afford to get married, have kids, get stuck in a job, and die on a deathbed when our life and death should be used to make the biggest impact possible.

———–

In the Old Testament God commanded us to “be fruitful and multiply” but in the New Age of the New Covenant Jesus told us whoever can be a eunuch should be a eunuch.  In the beginning, when the earth was empty, God told us to populate the Earth, but it’s not the beginning anymore and the Earth is more than populated; it’s the end and we need to live like it.  Paul said we should remain unmarried if we were still unmarried, because the end was near and we needed to have undivided passions.  But instead I see a church that says “Everyone is supposed to be married except the few who God has specifically called to remain single.”  Still the Bible seems to say “Everyone is supposed to remain unmarried except for the few who God has specifically called to be married.”
So I don’t have a problem with people being married, but I do have a problem with people not even considering celibacy, or being willing to remain unmarried.  This is what frustrates me.  I don’t see this, and so I don’t see how the modern church can possibly be in the right on this subject.  It seems like the modern church doesn’t emphasize us truly living lives of sacrifice and surrender.  It’s like we’re supposed to be surrendered in our finances by giving more than the world does, when in reality true surrender is giving everything we have to God.  And so I believe that every single Christian should only take in the money they need to survive on the bare necessities, and any money spent on vanities or materialism is essentially keeping money from people who need it more than we, and thus killing them.  Therefore the modern church is a lot of murders, by the sin of omission.
Further, while marriage can be justified, I don’t see how anyone can possibly justify procreation.  In the beginning God said, “Be fruitful and multiply” but in the end He said (in the New Testament), “Take care of the orphans and the widows.”  Jesus never advocated having children, nor did Paul, and both of them said it is better to remain unmarried.  The only ones who should be married are those who don’t have self-control over their bodies and basically are the weaker ones in the faith, who aren’t as devout.  Not that I’m bashing being the weaker brother, because some people’s calling is to have constant, intimate accountability and encouragement through companionship, and God created them with this weakness, needing companionship, which is to fulfill the purpose of their creation.  But as far as we know none of the apostles were married, except the ones who were married before being Christians [12013-  1 Cor 9:5 implies perhaps most apostles were married, but not Paul and Barnabas: “Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?  Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working?”].  It seems like it would have been the logical thing, based on early scripture, that all the early Christians would remain unmarried, who could help it.

If we are to take up The Bible on its command, we need to take care of the orphans by adopting them, and help the widows by adopting their children which they can’t support themselves.  Basically Jesus didn’t say “have children,” if anything he would have said “adopt children,” and if we are to be truly surrendered Christians, it is our duty to adopt.  But what do Christians do?  Instead of spending their time, money, love and resources on the orphans and widows, they bring new children into the world while the already existing orphans remain dying and Hell-bound.  They play God and bring new souls into existence.  Souls that can never stop existing, and souls that could possibly be sent to Hell forever and curse their parents for ever giving birth to them.  Of course orphans could still go to Hell, but the thing is you didn’t choose for them to come into being, so you can do your best to save them, and if they still go to Hell, so be it, you did all you can do.

————-

Besides accepting Christ’s atonement and being reborn spiritually, the two most significant things a human being in this life can do are give birth to a person and kill a person.  However, killing a person doesn’t take them out of existence, it just sends them into eternity with their current relationship with God fixed, all their sins on their head, and no more chances of redemption.  But giving birth to a person actually brings a soul into existence for the first time, therefore it is the single most powerful and significant thing a person can do.  It’s not a decision to be made based on someone wanting the joys of sex, parenthood, legacy, etc.  It’s not just having a kid, but it’s infinitely deeper than that.  It’s bringing a soul into existence for all eternity never to die.  Once you exist you can never unexist yourself.  Once you become alive, there is nothing you can possibly do to stop being alive.  Procreation is the single most important thing that can ever happen; don’t you think people should treat it like what it is?  But who does?  I don’t know one person who does.  When a person dies and is cast into Hell forever, they will curse their parents for all eternity for bringing them into existence.  After all, it’s not like they had any say in being born.

Instead the most important decision is reduced to a part of life.  One of many.  Just a part of the cycle.  Or at worst it is not a decision at all.  People have no self control and become like animals, possessed by primal, sexual desires.  People play around with it like a game trying to see how far they can get without becoming pregnant, and then it happens and they say, and I quote, “Oops…”  Woops!  We brought another soul into eternity to exist forever and ever and ever and probably go to Hell because we aren’t responsible parents in the area of sex, and so we probably won’t be responsible in raising a child to lead a God-fearing life either.

Because of this, above all my other reasons, I refuse to have children, even if it means castration, so be it.  Do I really believe this or am I just saying it?  (1/28-Yes, I really believe it even if castration is the price of affirming it.)  With something as important as the eternal existence of souls on the line I have no choice but to fight against it.

With that said, upon coming to this conclusion of refusing procreation I didn’t feel at peace with it.  And I wondered am I withholding this from God?  I felt like I had surrendered everything to God, but I asked myself, If God appeared to me right now and commanded me to have a child would I do it?  The answer was No, I wouldn’t.  And that bothered me, and it was then that I realized that in fact nothing happens aside from the will of God, and it’s not like I really have any power to create a soul or bring one into existence.  Only God can do that, so if I were to have a child it would be because God ultimately allowed it and in fact willed it to happen.  No soul exists just because of 2 irresponsible teenagers experimenting sexually and accidentally getting pregnant.

But my question is if you’re not going to have sex, then why get married at all?  Isn’t sex the real reason people get married?  Just like the bible says, it’s better to be unmarried, aka not have sex, aka not have kids.  I guess also people get married just to be with each other all the time, living in the same house without the condemnation of the church.  I refuse to have children which mean I refuse to have sex, so then what’s the point in marriage?  I’d rather just have a companion: more than friends, less than lovers.  And really that’s the thing that makes me even consider marriage:  companionship– having someone with you all the time who knows you intimately for who you are and loves you, in whom you find refuge and accountability and encouragement amidst the struggles of this cold, cruel, cursed world, a fellow child of God, 2 souls fighting the battle together and facing the mysteries of eternity together.  [2/3/10- Another being that you can be as intimate with as mentally, physically and spiritually possible.  They know everything about you and love you, and vice-versa.  The closest you can get to being another person.  While loneliness can be combated with friendship and family, those people can never be as intimate as a lover can be.)   And I have to admit secretly that that is the single most enticing thing on earth.  (And because of that intense attraction towards it I have to completely shut those thoughts out of my mind, lest I give in to the attraction even a little bit and then can’t get out without getting broken down- which is what happens every time, including very recently.  Even writing about it now there’s the potential of jeopardizing my mission by thinking of it, and yet I hope to record this feeling so that I can forget about it, but still have it written somewhere because it’s interesting.]  But isn’t that God?  Shouldn’t that person be God?  Shouldn’t God be the one that satisfies all those needs and fills the void in our life?  And yet God has created our bodies as being incomplete alone, like a puzzle piece made for another puzzle piece.  Or is that just the way we have been conditioned to think?  Can our loneliness be satisfied by friends and family?  Or just by the power and presence of God Himself?

————–

1/14/10- Apparently God is more powerful than Basia after all.  For now I feel at peace and a spirit of joy and contentment beyond all logic or rationality.  This just goes to prove that I have 0 control over my emotions and it is undeniably supernatural why I’m not depressed all of the sudden, as if God just decided to suddenly answer my prayer and change my heart.  I didn’t do anything to make this happen.  I pleaded with God for a long time, often to the point of nearing hysteria, that He would take it away and He wouldn’t, (1/27- my thorn in my flesh) but for some reason He did all of the sudden.  Whereas before I was depressed without companionship, now I really know, and logically feel sound, that I can’t be in a relationship now and I’m content with that, finally.

So I’m not controlling of other people and indignant, condemning of them for their convictions being less than mine, and being less analytical and “devout” as I am.  And I knew you can’t live like that anyways, even though I felt I was right I couldn’t be at peace with being frustrated with them.  I think the only thing you can do is try to encourage them in love to be better than the expectations and standards of the church.

————

Sometimes I get sick of constantly fighting temptations, and I get so tired of the trials of Christianity and the imperfections of this cursed world, and the mind games of God breaking us down and showing us things to the point that I just want to die.  (2/3/10- I want off this rock.)  I just want all of this to be over finally, and so I long for the ending of the world and the return of Christ to rule.  This feeling in turn turns to frustration with the apathy and mediocrity of the modern church that is ultimately pushing back the return of Christ by neglecting our call to fulfill the Great Commission by not truly sacrificing our lives and everything we have to advance the kingdom of God to the best of our abilities.
Just as Jesus said in Matthew 24:14:  “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

[2/3/10- of course that isn’t good motivation for evangelism– frustration, exhaustion, and disgust with the world and its trials and wanting the end to come.]

As it seems to me right now, I think the only people who shouldn’t be foreign missionaries are the people who are loaded and can do more good sponsoring orphans and missionaries, thus fulfilling the Great Commission as a sender.  Right now I’m sponsoring missionaries and orphans, but I’m not loaded so I think God’s will for me is to be a missionary, until the day comes when I become loaded, or can make more of an impact for the gospel in America (i.e. having a major band).

The truth is that every single thing you do affects the ultimate number of souls that will go to Heaven or Hell.

We have been called to be salt and light in a dark and bitter world.

————–

In the darkest of my mental wanderings I started to feel more respect for Osama Bin Laden than for the modern, American church.  While Bin Laden is a fool for being deceived into believing in an unjust, illogical religion like Islam, it is commendable that he believes it in its entirety as truly being the inerrant word of God and he follows it absolutely to the best of his ability, more than the rest of muslims, to the point that he would even lay down his life to obey it.

I believe that God will raise up a generation of celibates and living sacrifices to speed up the spreading of the gospel and thus hasten His return, and maybe He will use me to help this generation rise up.  Though right now with the current state of the church it seems unlikely, but God’s will is at work even now and nothing happens aside from the will of God.  If the American church as a whole is dying or at least slacking, it is because God allows it, otherwise He would change people’s hearts and break them down to the place of surrender they need to be to do his will.

I have had a harsh, critical, judgmental attitude towards the American church as a whole, including my best friends, and this attitude produces in me a feeling of bitterness, anger, frustration, and depression.  Surely anything that produces those side effects can’t be pleasing to God.  While I still stand beside my thoughts as being logical, I can’t justify being angry and judgmental towards anyone.  So I don’t know what to believe because these logical thoughts turn me away from a spirit of love, and surely God-sent beliefs should always produce symptoms of love, joy, peace and compassion.
1/28/10- And who am I to be judgmental of others anyways?  It’s not like I’m perfect.  So what if someone else spends money on video games, but then they go out and witness to people?  I don’t go out specifically to witness to people, even though I give my excess to the poor.  So who is a worse sinner?  One man obeys God in one area and another obeys in another area.  One man sins against God in one area and another sins in another area.  Until I’m perfect I can’t expect people to change.  But that still doesn’t mean that they should stay in their sin and that I shouldn’t encourage them to change.  We all have our own convictions, but it’s true some people should be more convicted than they are, and they’ve allowed the expectations of society to numb their convictions.

I am an idealist.  So I tend to believe that which is most ideal and seems to make the most sense as true.  But in reality, just because something is the most logical conclusion or most ideal doesn’t mean it’s the truth.  There’s only one truth, and it might not make the most sense or be the most logical conclusion.  Yet while you could say that that which seems logical to us might not be the most logical to God, I do believe our view of what is logical and illogical is a reflection of the traits of God who created us in His image.  And so I believe God has put in our minds the ability to distinguish what’s true as being that which is most logical because we reflect the logical nature of God and God has made an ordered and logical world.  But still, God could make something to be true simply because He wants it to be that way, even if it isn’t logical to us.  So just because something’s logical doesn’t necessarily mean it is the truth.

——————

2/1/10
I feel like I am awake and everyone else is asleep.

The convictions are there and the logic is absolutely sound, and yet my heart is not convinced.  If it was truly God’s perfect will for all this to be as it seems it should, then why would it create a feeling of restlessness, frustration, bitterness, confusion, uncertainty and all around uneasiness?  Perhaps because my soul is vexed by knowing the way things should be but seeing the overwhelming state of depravity that is the reality of the American church.  If my convictions were true than why would I struggle so much with loneliness and romance to the point that it plagues my thoughts consistently every day?  Shouldn’t my resolution bring peace and satisfaction through this volition?  As it is, I fear the quiet and silence because I know what lies there in the darkness waiting for me:  My thoughts.  And so I rage against the stillness by surrounding myself with noise and business all the time, even when I sleep, so as to stifle out and drown the negative thoughts and analyzing that waits for me, trying to claim me and bring me down again into the depths.  If I am alone to myself, then I have nothing else to do but think.  And if I think, my thoughts inevitably shift towards criticizing myself and others and thinking about my depravity and loneliness, because right now it is so engraved in my heart and consuming of my mind.  Perhaps because I am the only one who has realized these convictions.  Perhaps it bothers me because I love my brothers and I love God and desperately want the church to be what God has intended and to fulfill God’s purpose.  Since the church is apparently not fulfilling God’s purpose to the degree it should be, it frustrates me and convicts me to the point that I seek to energize it into the place it’s supposed to be.  Perhaps I am plagued by doubt and negative emotions because I am the only one left who isn’t giving in to the American dream, so if other Christians abstained from marriage and settling down (like they were meant to) then I wouldn’t be depressed or lonely, etc.
But as it is, I feel called to live life based on these convictions and not waver due to emotions, so that if I must live a life of misery, so be it.  My sacrifice will please God and instill in others a fire that would not be lit aside from my sacrifice.  Sacrifice is necessary to wake the church up.  God will not let me see decay, for I am sincere in my motives.

——–

2/2/10- For some reason I have this strong desire against settling down and getting married and having kids, raging against the natural, primal desires, as if I were a defunct human.  While I do greatly desire companionship, the thought of marriage and dating and all that entails makes me cringe.  I even hate the word “dating” and “girlfriend”.  Even though marriage at times is appealing, when I think about the details of it (living with someone all the time and having to make them a priority and spend vain, unproductive time with them), I realize, “No, I couldn’t do it.  I’m not made for that,” especially if my convictions would keep that person from living the popular marriage dream of sex and parenthood.  In fact, some of us just aren’t meant to live.  We are born to die.  We are made for the sole purpose of sacrificing our lives for the advancement of the Kingdom.

————-

It looks to me like the age of Earth is coming to a close.  The bible mentions wars and famine and earthquakes frequently occurring in the end.  Of course people were always expecting the end for 2000 years, but in those 2000 years there wasn’t the constant threat of earthquakes and global warming that there is now.  The earth is made to handle a certain amount of people and that limit is being reached[112511-will be reached sooner than we think], along with the technology that all of those people are using that exponentially heats up the earth.  60 years ago the whole earth had 2 billion people and now there are over 6 billion.  Naturally 50 years from now that will be doubled and 50 years from then that will be doubled.  Once you get to the place we are now the population is just unstoppable and exploding, and there’s really nothing we can do because it’s not like people are going to stop having kids.  If everyone on earth of the 6 billion people had 1 kid per couple it would cut the next generation in half, but that’s not going to happen, because people are 1. selfish and 2. have no self control.  [12/9/12- I just have to say after reading this paragraph, that it’s rather ridiculous.]
It only makes sense as we know what happened the last time the world joined together as one body and pushed the limits of science and technology with the Tower of Babel.  Now the world is developing a common language again in English and Latin, and thus breaking past language, culture, and distance barriers to push the limits of nature once again.  As humans inevitably dig deeper and deeper into the study of nature and break God’s laws (abortion, cloning, etc.), God will inevitably have to break down man again from his prideful, god-like status, this time perhaps for the last time.
Thinking about all this is sure to make you feel uneasy and panic, but in reality there’s not much you can do, and you shouldn’t feel that way because this is all part of God’s plan, His story.  The earth has to end sooner or later, and it’s ending.  How did you think it would end?  God sending earthquakes and famines supernaturally on the world?  Just like all other times, the supernatural follows the natural, and the natural is in fact supernaturally-induced.  The Earth is becoming over-populated with people who use technology that sucks up the earth’s resources and ruins the environment, so that when the end wasn’t in sight, now all of the sudden it is foreseeable. But of course the end won’t come until the Gospel is preached to all peoples, and there are still unreached peoples.  I predict that there will be a selfless, sacrificial emergence of Christians who deny themselves marriage and sex and the comforts of this life to advance the kingdom of God rapidly so that the end will come suddenly and unexpected.

———–

I have always had a fire in my bones for confronting and rebuking the modern church and secular culture of America, but now I wonder if this fire could be better used towards another direction- an idea that’s always been in the back of my mind.  The fact is, Americans have an abundant access to the gospel.  At any time an American can say to himself, “Hmmm…I wonder what happens when I die?” and go to a library to research, go to a church on Sunday, go buy a bible for a dollar, and if nothing else surf the web for the truth from the comfort and privacy of their home and find the answers from the plethora of Christian resources.  But God could randomly plant a thought in someone’s head or convict their heart so they search for the truth and find it, whereas if he does that in some countries, even if the people searched for the truth they would have no way to find it, accept by supernatural means.  That, plus the fact that the American masses have been indoctrinated by the false facts of modern “science,” which supposedly point towards an atheistic world, and the overall false classification of “Christian” that most Americans believe they fall under when in reality they don’t, makes the American masses a hard people to convert.  Though God of course can do all things, is it really the best use of our time to continually reach out to this stubborn, apathetic, Christianity-saturated people, when there are peoples that have never heard the Gospel and don’t have access to it?  Like Paul said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.
47″For so the Lord has commanded us,
‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES,
THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.'”
48When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”  (Acts 13)

AND
18:6: “But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’”

AND
28:25: “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers,
26saying,
‘GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY,
YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;
AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
27FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,
AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES;
OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES,
AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,
AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN,
AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.”‘
28″Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”

AND
Matthew 21:
43″Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.

————-

I have 2 questions, 3 requests:
Questions:
What do I believe that isn’t true?
What changes need to be made in my life?
Requests:
Show me what You want me to do, how to do it, and give me what I need to do it.

//